How flexible working for dads can work for your business

28 August 2011

Employed British fathers’ use of flexible working (particularly flexitime and occasional working from home) grew considerably during the decade to 2011, although it remains at a low level in contrast to mothers’.

Flexible working options are less available in male-dominated settings (Dex & Ward, 2010). Fewer men than women make requests to work flexibly, have their requests granted or are successful when taking their cases to tribunals (Working Families, 2006) – and the grounds on which fathers can take cases to tribunals are different from mothers’, and are less favourable (link to our paper).

Between 2002 and 2005, the percentage of new fathers working flexi-time to care for infants rose from 11% to 31%, with 29% occasionally working from home for this purpose (Smeaton & Marsh, 2006). Between 2006 and 2009 the percentage of full-time employed fathers working a compressed working week more than doubled from 6% to 15%; as did the percentage using term-time flexible working, which rose from 6% to 13% (Biggart & O’Brien, 2009).

Many dads don’t take up flexible working for fear of damaging their career by doing so: in an EHRC survey in 2009, 36% of dads said working flexibly would mark them out as not committed to their jobs and 44% thought that it would negatively affect their chances of promotion.

BUT it is possible to make flexible working for dads work for your business – even in traditionally ‘male’ sectors like manufacturing. Find out more by reading this report produced for the Think Fathers campaign, including case studies from a variety of companies of different sizes and sectors: Think Fathers flexible working guide.

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