An inquiry has been set in motion by the Women and Equalities Committee looking into how employers can support fathers actively seeking to be more involved in their child’s upbringing.

The 2017 Modern Families Index, published by Working Families and Bright Horizons, surveyed 2,750 parents and found that the way that work was organised and workplace cultures present a number of barriers for fathers who want to take a more active role in their care responsibilities.

It revealed some interesting findings:

  • 69% would think about childcare before taking a new job or promotion.
  • 44% of fathers have lied to their employer about their family-related responsibilities clashing with work commitments.
  • 47% want to downshift into a less stressful job as they cannot juggle professional and personal commitments.
  • 38% would take a pay cut to have a better work-life balance.
  • Twice the number of fathers compared to mothers think that those who work flexibly are seen as less committed and dedicated to their work.

The report says that there is a fear that a “fatherhood penalty” could emerge, whereby fathers push aside their career to do less demanding roles so they can take a more active role in childcare responsibilities.

The Committee chair, Maria Miller, commented that “investing in policies that support men to share childcare equally, and allow women to continue working, will reap financial benefits as well as reducing the gender pay gap”.

She continues that “Supporting parents in the workplace is a priority for the Government. Yet it admits that its flagship Shared Parental Leave policy is likely to have a very low take-up rate.”

The Committee is seeking the opinions from organisations on whether there are any employment-related obstacles to fathers sharing caring more equally, whether they have the financial support to undertake their care duties, what policy and legislative changes would be most effective to support fathers and if there are challenges for fathers working in particular employment sectors.

If you want to have your say, the deadline for responses is 1st March 2017.

Read our articles on paternity rights and shared parental leave to find out more about what the law currently provides to new fathers.

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