- Campaign launches to remind dads of their rights at work -
Flexible working is increasingly important to modern dads who want to take care of their children, according to figures published today by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
More than half (56%) of dads surveyed with children 16 and under said that they would look for an employer who offers flexible working when choosing a new job.
The overwhelming majority (91%) of dads with children aged five or under believe it is important that fathers have the option to take paid paternity leave. Nearly two thirds (62%) believe a dad’s relationship with their child will suffer if they are not at home after the baby is born.
However, while these findings show how important it is to fathers to spend time with their family, some remain unsure of the rights currently in place to help them. The poll found:
· a fifth (20%) of dads with kids aged 16 or under - who, by law, are entitled to request flexible working from their employer - did not know if their company offered flexible working to fathers;
· one in three (34%) parents with children aged nought to five did not realise that paid paternity leave is law; and
· one in five (22%) wrongly assumed that fathers only needed to approach their employer to ask for this leave when the baby was born or before it was eight weeks old. (To benefit from legal paternity rights, fathers must speak with their employer 15 weeks before the baby is due).
The research comes as BIS launches a campaign to raise awareness among dads of their rights at work to help them care for their child.
Employment Relations Minister Lord Young said:
“We know that rights for dads at work are valued by people and that businesses also see real benefits in offering them. But our research shows that there are still some dads out there that are not aware of what they are entitled to and therefore risk missing out.
“Our campaign is all about making sure dads know what they can do and to help them have more confidence as they weigh up what works best for them and their family. The key is to talk to their employer.”
Fathers are entitled to:
· Request flexible working – parents of a child 16 or under, are entitled to request flexible working such as flexi time, part time or working from home, and, by law, an employer must seriously consider the request;
· Paid paternity leave – new dads can take two weeks’ paid leave. They need to notify their employer 15 weeks before the due date; and
· Parental leave – dads have the right to take up to 13 weeks unpaid leave until their child is five years old.
The month long awareness campaign, called Dads at Work, will see posters and consumer information leaflets distributed in outlets such as doctors’ surgeries, hospitals and antenatal clinics, directing dads to www.direct.gov.uk/dadsatwork for detailed information. Online advertising will also appear on websites that attract high volumes of ‘dad’ visitors.
The campaign is also supported by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, which has recently unveiled its ‘Support for all – Families and Relationships Green Paper’ that sets out how Government can support and recognise dads; and by Rob Williams, Chief Executive of the Fatherhood Institute, the UK's fatherhood think tank and consultancy.
Children’s Minister Dawn Primarolo said:
“The campaign launched today is a further boost to our determination to ‘Think Fathers’, to make services and employers more responsive to fathers’ needs, and to ensure that policies recognise the vital role fathers play in a child’s life.
“In our Families & Relationships Green Paper, published last month, we launched a package of new measures to support dad’s right from the birth of their children and in the last few years we’ve reformed employment rights and made free child care accessible to thousands of families.”
Fatherhood Institute Chief Executive Rob Williams said:
“It is so important that we support working fathers to have time off to spend time with their family and make sure they know how they can do that. It not only helps fathers have close, positive relationships with their children but also encourages fathers to make important decisions with the mum, decisions that are probably on a far greater scale than anything else they have needed to discuss before. All this is vital in building strong and stable family relationships.”
Notes to Editors
1. More information on work and family rights for fathers can be found at www.direct.gov.uk/dadsatwork
2. In April 2009, the right to request flexible working for parents – fathers as well as mothers – under the Work and Family Act 2006, was extended to parents with children of 16 and under (it was previously only for parents with children up to the age of five).
3. Statutory paternity leave, introduced in 2003, allows fathers to take two weeks’ leave paid at a standard rate (currently £123.06) per week.
4. Parental leave provides employees – both mothers and fathers – who have completed one year’s service with their employers the right to 13 weeks’ (unpaid) parental leave to care for their child.
5. The Department for Children, Schools and Families is also carrying out a number of activities to increase support for fathers, including the ‘Support for all – Families and Relationships Green Paper’. More information on these can be found here: http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/supportforall/
6. The Government is introducing a new right to Additional Paternity leave and pay for fathers of children due on or after 3 April 2011. This will give fathers a right to up to six months extra leave which can be taken in the second six months of the child’s life once the mother has returned to work. Some of the leave may be paid if taken during the mother’s maternity pay period. This will be paid at the same standard rate as Statutory Paternity Pay which is currently £123.06.
7. Research carried out between 1/02/2010 and 8/02/2010 online by Opinion Matters among 1691 UK adults. Of those respondents, 562 were fathers of children aged 16 or under.
Notes to editors
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.
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