Current policies supporting fathers in the workplace do not deliver what they promise, despite good intentions. And this is particularly true for low-income fathers, says a March 2018 report from the Women and Equalities Select Committee.
The report finds that the right to request flexible working has not created the necessary cultural change. It recommends:
- Statutory paternity pay should be paid at 90% of the father’s pay (capped for higher earners) to help ensure that all fathers, regardless of income, can be at home around the time of their child’s birth
- The Government should consider the costs and benefits of introducing a new policy of 12 weeks’ standalone fathers’ leave in the child’s first year as an alternative to shared parental leave when it reviews the policy this year
- The Government should legislate immediately to make a reality the Prime Minister’s call for all jobs to be advertised as flexible from day one, unless there are solid business reasons not to
- The Government should harmonise workplace rights for fathers who are agency workers or self-employed with those for employed fathers where practical – for example by introducing paternity allowance similar to maternity allowance.
Chair of the Committee, Maria Miller MP, said:
‘The evidence is clear – an increasing number of fathers want to take a more equal share of childcare when their children are young but current policies do not support them in doing so.’
In September 2017, the Women and Equalities Select Committee continued a January 2017 inquiry into whether fathers are being failed in the workplace.
The Committee took forward evidence it received before the General Election, alongside its March 2016 report on the Gender Pay Gap. This report found that:
- Sharing care between fathers and mothers is key to reducing the gender pay gap
- Many fathers want to fulfill their caring responsibilities for their children
- The Government’s flagship policy of Shared Parental Leave, introduced in 2015, is likely to have little impact, with a predicted take-up rate of just 2-8%.