Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Paternity leave rights confusion for fathers

Working Families, a leading UK work-life balance organisation, identified fathers as one of five problem areas for policy in a report published this month. It identifies the long notice period and service requirements as excluding a number of potential fathers from receiving paternity leave entitlements. The report is based on data from the Working Families helpline calls received during 2009.

These findings are consistent with findings from my research in which a number of fathers expressed confusion over when they were expected to notify their human resources department about their intention to take paternity leave. Babies do not tend to clock-watch their arrival and many fathers were adamant that they did not know when the baby would be born. One father went on paternity leave before his overdue-baby was born.

Another father was horrified when he was told that he did not qualify for paternity leave because he had only been with the company for two months. The way he saw it was that paternity leave was "for the birth and to help out with the family. It’s not that you’re trying to skive or bunk off work.”

I join with Working Families, and argue that all fathers should be entitled to levels of statutory paternity support regardless of their employment status.

Click here for the Working Families report.
Details of workplace rights for fathers can be found here.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Fathers Story Week 14-20 June

Get involved! The Fatherhood Institute (and partner organisations) has launched a website to encourage educational organisations to focus on fathers for one week. Fathers Story Week runs from 14-20 June 2010, and the website offers a number of free resources and ideas for all children up to Key Stage 2. The week also includes a Bring Your Dad to School Day on Fri 18 June where children can dress up as their dad (or other father figure) and maybe bring him along on the school run too.

Pass this link onto your local school or child care provider and encourage them to get involved. Tell your employers about it too, so that they can encourage dads to take part.

More details can be found at

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Recession, fathers and work life balance

Has the sceptre of recession cut through the issue of work life balance for fathers? As most research with fathers shows, finances are a significant factor in shaping work and care patterns. So when redundancies bite and job insecurity threatens, does the work side weigh more heavily on people's minds?

Or, does the current employment climate highlight the importance of the life side even more, and so provide opportunities for trying to work and live differently?

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Modern fathers struggle to provide ‘the whole package’

“The dad that always goes out to work …(…)… definitely wouldn’t have a relationship with the kids … you know, would just provide money and that would be it.

Where now, … it’s different. In that you’re trying to be a whole package …(…)…you’re trying to be there for them and you’re trying to provide for them … not only financially but you know emotionally, physically. You just, you try to be the complete and whole package, and I think that to me is a perfect father.”

Quote from Nigel (31), father of 3

Further details from my research can be found on the About page of this blog. More information will be added soon.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Workplaces must champion men as fathers

Findings from my doctoral research suggest that fathers struggle to combine the identities of man, worker and father when they are in the workplace. Employment policy and individual employers could do more to champion the idea that good male workers can also be caring fathers. A work culture change like this could go a long way in changing our views on the best ways to work effectively.

Further details will be updated onto pages of this blog soon.
Please leave a comment or contact me if you have any questions.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Pansy fathers?

Today's Virgin Media homepage features 'Not so tough guys: when action heroes turn pansy'. Listing a number of action hero actors who have opted for parts that see them taking on a male childcare role. Since when was childcare for 'pansies'? Media headlines like these will continue to make it difficult for fathers to become more involved in the care of their children.

Contemporary fatherhood spurns long work hours

Findings from my doctoral research with UK fathers suggests that fathers' today would prefer not to work long hours, but often struggle to reduce these hours. Current UK parental leave schemes do not support fathers who want to actively change their work patterns.

Further details will be uploaded onto pages of this blog soon.