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16 January 2017

Fathers and the workplace

The Women and Equalities Committee has launched an inquiry as new research from Working Families reveals that many fathers do not feel supported in the workplace to care for their children.

The inquiry follows on from the Committee's report on the Gender Pay Gap in March 2016 which found that:

  • Sharing care between fathers and mothers is the key to reducing the Gender Pay Gap
  • Many fathers want to fulfil their caring responsibilities for their children
  • The Government’s flagship policy of Shared Parental Leave, introduced in 2015, is likely to have little impact, with a predicted take-up rate of just 2-8 per cent.
Committee Chair, Maria Miller MP, says:
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.
“Following our work on the gender pay gap, the Women and Equalities Committee is now asking whether fathers are being failed in the workplace. Clearly more needs to be done. We are keen to hear views from individuals as well as organisations about the changes which they would like to see. Many fathers want to take a more active role in caring for their children.”
The inquiry is seeking evidence on the following issues:
  • How well do fathers feel their current working arrangements help them to fulfil their caring responsibilities for children of all ages?
  • Are there employment-related barriers to fathers sharing caring roles more equally?
  • Do fathers have the financial support to enable them to fulfil their caring responsibilities?
  • Are there social or attitudinal barriers to fathers in the workplace which need to be challenged?
  • Are there changes to the workplace – such as an increase in freelance, agency or casual working – which might have an impact on fathers? Are there challenges for fathers working in particular employment sectors?
  • What role can Government, employers and other stakeholders play in overcoming these barriers? What policy or legislative changes would be most effective in supporting fathers to fulfil their caring responsibilities?
  • Are there specific issues facing fathers from particular groups or backgrounds, for example because of their income or ethnicity, or fathers of disabled children and young people?
  • Are there examples (in the UK or internationally) of best practice amongst employers that could be taken up more widely?

To submit evidence to the inquiry, follow this link. The committee is accepting written submissions until March 1, 2017.

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