The number of hours fathers are working in an average week is on the rise,
research by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) reveals.
The survey finds that during 2001 a father’s average working week was 47.3
hours, an increase of nearly 5 per cent on 1998 when fathers worked an average
of 45.1 hours a week.
Sixty-six per cent of fathers were working more than 41 hours per week in
2001, compared with 62 per cent three years earlier. The proportion of fathers
working overtime, paid or unpaid, also increased by 2 per cent from 51 per cent
to 53 per cent.
Commenting on the figures, released on Father’s Day (16 June), EOC
chairwoman Julie Mellor urged employers to put more emphasis on work-life
balance policies to give dads a chance to spend more time with their children.
"Father’s Day is an opportunity for families to celebrate
fatherhood," she said. "But dads are dads all year long, not just on
one special day. These figures suggest that many children are seeing less of
their dad than they used to. This is really bad news for families.
"Despite growing awareness of the importance of achieving a balance
between work and family, men are still missing out on the opportunity to be
involved in caring for their children, and children are missing out on having
their dad around. The challenge for employers is to enable dads to break out of
the straitjacket of long and inflexible working hours."