Working policies 'not tailored to fathers'


Current working policies do not take into account how fathers want to adapt their routines to fit in with their family lives, a new report concludes.

The report from the University of Bristol and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), found that far from wanting to work fewer hours, most fathers would prefer increased flexibility to have a family life.

While fathers do cut back on their working hours for a short time after a child is born, being a father actually has little effect on men's working patterns and fathers do not have shorter working hours than non-fathers, the report concluded.

"What professional men value most about their jobs is their ability to control their working hours so that they can leave early to go to school functions or parents' meetings - and this flexibility was also what other men most wanted," said sociologist Dr Esther Dermott, who conducted the research.

Analysis of the data collected found that around 25 per cent of men wanted to work fewer hours, less than one per cent wanted to work more hours and the rest wanted things to stay the same – and these preferences did not change when men became fathers.

The research suggests that employee-controlled flexibility and pay-related paternity leave may prove more popular among fathers than recent policies, the report claimed.

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