44% of fathers have been refused a change in working hours
In the introduction to this month’s theme of MEN, I wrote about how equality is better for everyone.
For a long time now we’ve understood that women face a raw deal at work and that mothers are far too often discriminated against [see all of my previous Feminist Fact Friday posts if that seems like a surprise to you]. What hasn’t been as clearly defined is the difficulties men have in making the most of their experiences as fathers.
Research from Deloitte has found that “over half of new dads struggle to secure flexibility at work [and] the majority of workplaces aren’t adapting to changing family patterns.” Though men have moved on and want to enjoy their time as fathers, the workplace is refusing to catch up with them.
Why is this important?
The findings from Deloitte show that for working fathers “37% admit that their mental health is negatively affected as a result of trying to balance work and parental responsibilities.” So long as the workplace continues to be a hostile environment for working parents there is a negative impact on their health and also their productivity. Whether your company is motivated by ‘right and wrong’ or the pure bottom line, on either measure many employers are failing their staff.
Further, as “59% of working fathers want employers to provide more flexible working and almost half say that improving paternity leave is vital” this will start to be a key factor in people’s decisions to move or stay with an employer. The expectation of flexibility is only set to grow, so if you want to attract the best talent, retain your people and create a supportive working environment then you need to start adapting immediately.
Finally, even if the moral arguments and the potential financial growth aren’t enough to convince you, consider the fact that discriminating against fathers could start costing you more than just a drop in job applicants: just last week JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay $5 million to settle a discrimination case related to its parental leave policy for fathers.*
What can you do about it?
If all of this is news to you then you can start by educating yourself. Read the Deloitte report, check out the resources on Daddilife and get acquainted with The Book of Man (and their next fatherhood event on 12 June).
Have a think about the attitude you have to working fathers — do you think of them the way you think of working mothers? Is there work you need to do in changing your perspective in order to move with the times?
If you’re in a decision-making capacity, look at how parental leave policies and flexible working are presented at your company. Do men and women both have the opportunity to make the most of their careers and their life as parents within your company?
If you’re becoming a parent, educate yourself and then try to push for change — it might come easily (after all, 56% of the surveyed received a change in working hours) or you might have to work hard to persuade your company to move with the times. By doing that work you’ll be paving the way for everyone who comes after you.
And within any company, celebrate your working parents (though remember to do it sensitively and inclusively, as becoming a parent isn’t a choice everyone can have or might want).
What is this project about?
Feminist Fact Friday is a passion project to educate myself (and anyone else who might be interested) in key facts that prove just how unequal our society remains, in an effort skip a decade or ten of the 107 years it’s going to take women to reach political equality around the world. You can read more about this project in my Intro.
Deloitte Over half of new dads struggling to secure flexibility at work 20 May 2019
Paul R La Monica writing for CNN JPMorgan Chase settles claims it discriminated against dads 31 May 2019
August Graham in City AM Employers refuse fathers who want to spend more time with their kids 20 May 2019