Action call on discrimination against dads

Working fathers are missing out
on spending time with their children because they believe bosses discriminate
against men with childcare responsibilities, according a new report.

Dad’s Army, a report out
today (Monday) from The Work Foundation, says workplace culture is still being
defined by a generation of ‘dinosaur Dads’ – 
the previous generation of corporate men who were supported by
stay-at-home wives.

It says while bosses have woken
up to the issues of employing mothers, but few seem to realise that this means
they now employ a different kind of father.

The report, which draws on new
research from the Equal Opportunities Commission, sets out the case for
father-friendly workplaces and explains why they are the missing link in the
gender equality story.

Until changes are made, The
Work Foundation argues, real equality of opportunity for women in the workplace
is unachievable.

The report said 59 per cent of
mothers with pre-school children also have a job. While this has forced men to
take on more domestic duties, the new responsibilities that affect working
fathers have not yet registered on the corporate radar.

It found that working fathers
nervous about taking paternity leave, or asking for time off or flexible
working to help them manage childcare responsibilities.

They often prefer to parent by
stealth, using off-site client meetings to cover up for time spent looking
after their children, rather than risk appearing uncommitted or less masculine
in front of colleagues.

Richard Reeves, author of the
report and research associate at The Work Foundation said: "To achieve
gender equality we have to recognise that equality at work and equality at home
are inescapably intertwined. We can’t get one without the other.

"Until there is a
redistribution of unpaid work towards men, women will never be able to achieve
full parity in the labour market.”

Dad’s Army recommends five
steps for companies that want to think more creatively about the parents on
their payroll:

§        
Daddy diagnostic – find out what men want. This may not
be paternity leave but leaving early on a Friday to pick up their kids for the
weekend

§        
Paternity leave – 
the necessary starting point but companies must think beyond that. Children
will need two parents throughout their lives

§        
Time Sovereignty – grant employers more control of
their working hours and provide a range of options, flexi-time, compressed
hours, term-time working etc.

§        
Culture shift – this has to come from the top but also
requires staff changing their behaviour and assumptions

§        
Good work – improving the quality of the job and
working environment, as opposed to reducing hours. This will have positive
effects at home which will be reflected back at work

By Quentin Reade

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