Dads need more flexibility to help with childcare

Workplace culture needs to change to support the growing number of dads wanting to take on more childcare responsibility and work flexibly. Employers have a crucial role to play in encouraging greater uptake of Shared Parental Leave, which would motivate more couples to share child‐caring responsibilities more evenly and help ease gender disparity in the workplace.

Just one in 10 fathers have taken Shared Parental Leave since its introduction in 2015, even though 85 percent wish they had taken more time off to look after their child.  We conducted a survey of 1,000 dads and found that take‐up has been low since Shared Parental Leave was introduced four years ago. The policy allows parents to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of statutory pay between them following the birth of a child and is designed to allow couples to split child‐caring roles more equally.

There are simple ways that employers can better support fathers, such as by offering family friendly policies and implementing flexible working practices in the workplace to let new parents fit child‐caring commitments around work ones. Ultimately, fathers who can have a better work life balance will be more likely to be happier, more engaged team members in the office.

The 5th April 2019 marks 4 years since Share Parental Leave came into effect, giving mums and dads the legal right to split 12 months parental leave between them.

We embarked on a campaign to find out if dads are making the most of this opportunity.

  • Only 14% of fathers have taken Shared Parental Leave in the last five years
  • Even though 85% of fathers wish they had taken more time off to look after their child
  • 88% of fathers believe being given the option to work more flexibly would help them spend more time caring for their children
  • 1 out of 2 fathers felt pressured to return to work quickly after taking time off for Shared Parental Leave
  • 8 out of 10 fathers feel affected by cultural stigma around fathers taking time to look after children
  • 44% of fathers have experienced discrimination in the workplace after exercising their right to Parental Leave and flexible working