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UK — Men fear requesting flexible working will damage their careers

20 October 2009

A report launched today by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to coincide with Parents' Week, finds that British men want to take a more active role in caring for their children. But four in 10 fathers say they spend too little time with their children.

45% of men fail to take two weeks’ paternity leave after the birth of their child with the most common reason provided being because they can’t afford to. Two in five men fear that asking for flexible working arrangements would result in their commitment to their job being questioned and would negatively affect their chances of a promotion.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has previously outlined a series of fully costed policies that would help to meet the needs of businesses and modern families as part of its 'Working Better Initiative'.

It included fathers having:

- Two weeks’ paternity leave at the birth of their child at 90% pay
- Four months of dedicated 'parental leave' with at least eight weeks of leave being at 90% pay
- Another four months’ parental leave - that can be taken by either mother or father — eight weeks of which are taken at 90% pay.

Andrea Murray, Acting Group Director Strategy from the Equality and Human Rights Commission said, "we believe that our 'Working Better' policies lay out a road-map to 2020 which will put Britain ahead of the curve in terms of modern working practices. Two-thirds of fathers see flexible working as an important benefit when looking for a new job. This highlights an opportunity for British businesses to use flexible working as an incentive for attracting and retaining the most talented of employees."

"Some companies which have adopted forward thinking policies towards families are reporting increased productivity, reduction in staff turnover, reduced training costs and an ability to respond better to customer requirements."

To read the full report please click here



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