Employment law for parents disadvantages fathers and should be reformed, a charity has claimed.
The Fatherhood Institute conducted an in-depth review of existing research into the role of fathers in modern families, with funding from the Nuffield Foundation. In a new report entitled Cash or carry, the sets out its findings, calling for “a radical shake-up” of existing employment law which, they claim, allows employers to discriminate against fathers.
The report highlights a reluctance to support new fathers amongst many: employers are almost twice as likely to turn down requests for flexible working hours from fathers as they are from mothers, and they are more likely to agree to increase maternity pay than paternity or shared parental leave pay. Such fathers are also more likely than mothers to seen as less committed to their employers. Men know this and are more likely than theirwives to say they fear negative consequences for asking their boss for flexible hours.
Report author Adrienne Burgess said more support for fathers would benefit the whole family:
“Existing employment policy and practice is out of step with parents’ lives and aspirations. They cause mothers and fathers economic and personal hardship and damage children.”
Amongst the reforms proposed are a new right three months paternity leave and a new duty on larger employers to publish details of “care equity” – i.e. a comparison of new fathers and mothers amongst the workforce taking parental leave, parallel with the current requirement for larger firms to publish pay equality figures.
In addition, insists the Institution, negative portrayals of fatherhood in a workplace environment should amount to sex discrimination, and the government should issue guidance on implementation of the Equality Act to that effect.
Read more here.
Photo by Till Westermayer via Flickr