14/08/2014 12:57 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Dads Getting Raw Deal Over Flexible Working Requests

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Shared parental leave for dads

Dads are getting a 'raw deal' when trying to balance work and family. The claims comes after it was revealed that fathers are twice as likely as mothers to have requests for flexible working rejected by bosses.

This led Labour's shadow children's minister, Lucy Powell, to challenge employers' perceptions that childcare was just a mother's domain.

She said: "Childcare is not just an issue for mums. These figures show that dads are getting a raw deal when trying to balance work and family.

"Today, dads need a modern workplace and family-friendly policies and practices so they can get on at work as well as having time to be with their kids."

New figures from the Department for Work and Pensions revealed that despite rules giving parents equal rights to ask for family-friendly hours, almost one in five men are rebuffed by employers.

They also revealed how men are much less likely to even bother asking their boss for to work flexibly.

In 2012, 18 per cent of men who asked for flexible working were turned down, compared to 10 per cent of women.

Only 17 per cent of fathers even ask to change their hours compared to 28 per cent of women.

The new report also shows that younger dads aged between 26 and 35 are the most resentful towards their employers about their work-life balance.

As the law stands parents with children aged 16 or under, those with disabled children under 18, and carers of adults have the right to apply for a flexible working pattern.

Miss Powell added: "While women still face a glass ceiling to get back and get on in work, many dads face other cultural barriers to being able to flexibly including working long hours, inflexible organisational culture and expectations that men should be the main breadwinner.

"This generation of dads feels short-changed by employers and the system. We know having more dads involved in childcare and home life is good for children but this should benefit employers too, making their employees happier and less resentful. Policy and practice needs to change to give more opportunities to fathers."

A spokesman for BIS (the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills) said: "We are extending the right to request flexible working to all employees from this year.

"By allowing everyone to work flexibly, we want to remove the cultural assumption that flexible working is only for women, or just for parents and carers.

"We want these reforms to bring about a culture change in Britain's workplaces, allowing everyone to better balance work with their personal life through jobs shares, part-time working or working from home.

"The current system for maternity and paternity leave has not kept up with the times, so in 2015 we're introducing shared parental leave and pay, which will allow working couples to choose how they share care for their child in the first year after birth.

"It will allow men to play a more active role in childcare and family responsibilities, and women to return to work sooner if they wish to."

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