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Inquiry looking at shared parental leave

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#Fathers, shared parental leave, select committee inquiry, listening to witnessesSharing care between fathers and mothers is the key to reducing the Gender Pay Gap.

The Women and Equalities Committee is currently considering whether fathers are getting the support they need in the workplace to care for their children.

The Committee launched the inquiry after new research revealed that many fathers do not feel they do.

The inquiry follows on from the Committee’s report on the Gender Pay Gap in March 2016 which found – as far as fathers were concerned – that:

Sharing care between fathers and mothers is the key to reducing the Gender Pay Gap;

Many fathers want to fulfil their caring responsibilities for their children; and

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 per cent.

To see the terms of reference for the ‘Fathers and the workplace’ inquiry click here.

In the first evidence session of this inquiry, MPs heard:

Whether there is evidence that fathers—from different groups and backgrounds—have the support to balance work with caring responsibilities for children, and what evidence there is of demand for change;

What is known about fathers’ current experiences of support for their caring responsibilities in the workplace;

What factors and challenges might be contributing to any dissatisfaction among fathers about their current situations;

How effectively government policies (particularly its flagship policy of Shared Parental Leave) support fathers in the workplace, what more can be done, and what the effects on workplaces and on mothers would be.

Twice the number of fathers compared to mothers believe that working flexibly will have a negative impact on their career, and 44 per cent said they had lied or bent the truth to their employer about family-related responsibilities.

Maria Miller MP, chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, said: “Many fathers want to be just as involved in their children’s lives as mothers do, which is good for children too.

“However, in many workplaces men can still find it difficult to get more flexible work and fear that asking might damage their career, with employers questioning their commitment. This mirrors the experiences of many mothers.

“The government has brought in family friendly policies, such as Shared Parental Leave, but there are significant questions about whether culture at work has changed enough to enable the policy to be effective.

“We need to find out what we can learn from other countries. In this session, we will consider what fathers want, workplace culture and the barriers men face in combining work with childcare.”

Join the conversation on Twitter: #Fathers

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