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Dads ‘want flexible working opportunities too’

Many women already work flexibly

Businesses in the UK should aim to make it easier for fathers within their workforce to operate on a flexible basis as and when required.

HR Magazine editor Arvind Hickman has called for a shift in employer attitudes, as he believes flexible working is currently weighted too strongly in favour of mothers.

This comes at the expense of dads' rights, and with the shared parental changes due to come into effect next year, now is the time for the government and companies to get the issue in order.

Mr Hickman told how he recently spent some time with a business associate at the Brockwell Lido, and it was immediately apparent that the place was full of children and stay-at-home mums. However, there were no men within the cafe area, underlining just how difficult many find it to take time off from work when they need it.

"Why is it that women disproportionately take on the primary parenting role? The short answer is that current legislation and societal norms are heavily geared towards mothers assuming primary child care. And, according to our report on flexible working, dads aren't happy about the lack of flexibility," he wrote.

Mr Hickman went on to point to a study by the Institute of Leadership and Management, which recently showed fewer than ten per cent of new fathers take more than two weeks of paternity leave.

In addition, a quarter of men do not even take a single day off in the aftermath of their child being born.

It is clear that flexible working is an option that could work well for many fathers all over the UK, so now is the time for it to be implemented on a wide scale.

Mr Hickman said employer attitudes towards men taking time off and working flexibly need to change, as dads increasingly want choice and flexibility.