Half of new dads and partners who are entitled to paternity leave are being denied flexible working options, a new study has showed.
Research by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), which surveyed 2,000-plus parents with children under six years old, found that lower earners were even less likely to have their requests approved.
According to The Independent, which was given exclusive access to the findings, around two-thirds of those whose household incomes were below £40,000 reported having their requests for flexible working partially or completely refused. This compared to around half of those earning salaries of more than £40,000.
The report revealed that just over a third of dads and partners whose household incomes were below £40,000 had their full flexible working requests accepted, far fewer than the half with household incomes exceeding £40,000.
TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said: “Everyone should have access to flexible working, but far too many new parents don’t get the flexibility they ask for at work – particularly those in lower paid roles. As a result, dads and partners miss out on precious time with their children. And mums continue to shoulder most of the caring responsibilities which hits their earnings and careers. That’s not right.
“Flexibility must become the norm for all workers. Without it, inequality for women will worsen, and mums will continue to lose out on pay and opportunities at work.”
Calling for a change the law so that every job advert makes clear what kind of flexible working is available, Nowak explained this would help people understand before they take a role whether it works for them and their families. He added that workers should have the legal right to work flexibly from their first day in a job.
Commenting on the findings, Han-Son Lee, founder and CEO of parenting website for dads, DaddiLife, said: “The TUC research is another stark indication of just why we need to rethink our approach when it comes to modern day dads at work.
“With 50% of new fathers being denied flexible working from their employers, this is holding back so many dads from the work–life relationship that’s truly representative of the modern-day dad they want to be – the father who is far more active and involved than in previous generations gone by.”
He highlighted that the findings correlate with DaddiLife’s own research in association with Deloitte, The Millennial Dad at Work, which discovered that a third of all new fathers had left their jobs in order to find better work–parental balance.
Lee explained: “If organisations don’t rethink their approach to fathers at work, I can only see that figure increasing as dads are increasingly ‘voting with their feet’ and exiting organisations at increasingly rapid rates.
“It’s true that dads themselves need to start ‘parenting loudly’ in their teams, but organisations too need to actively listen to how dads want to work and parent, and it’s a big reason behind why we’ve set up a mentoring scheme for dads that’s embedded into HR teams – to create the conversations and culture that is making change happen much quicker.”