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Flexible Working Hours for Dads

Monday, 6 February 2017
A recent survey featured in the 2017 Modern Families Index Report found that fathers are looking for more flexible work, and willing to take cuts in pay and responsibility if it means increasing the time they spend with their family. We discussed what employers and employees can do to help.

The 2017 Modern Families Index Report was released last month, it shows strong trends in what fathers are looking for in their work these days, so let’s look at some of the facts:

  • 70% of dads want to work more flexibly to accommodate activities such as dropping and picking their children up from school.
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  • 38% said they would rather do a job that involved taking a pay cut if it meant they had more family time.

  • 11% of the 2,750 respondents said their boss makes no allowances at all for their family life.

So what we can see from these results is that most fathers are interested in spending more time with their families, and need flexible working hours to make this possible. An issue that is faced is that when compared to mums, dads are over double as likely to believe that working flexibly will have a negative impact on their career, believing that they will be viewed as less committed to their work.

Sarah Jackson, CEO of Working Families, speaks of the ‘fatherhood penalty’ – a recent development in which fathers will deliberately stall their careers in order to find better ways of combing work and family life.

What’s the solution?

For employers
According to the flexible working jobsite, Timewise, despite the UK’s population demanding more flexible working hours, only one in 10 jobs advertised match the flexibility desired. Joint chief executive of Timewise, Emma Stewart, says “It’s time for more employers to change how they recruit and open up quality roles to flexible working from day one. If not they risk losing out on the best talent of future generations, and that’s not good for business or families”.

CIPD have also called for employers to create new policies, as well as a suportive culture, for families that would like flexible working hours and claim that a
 third of organisations said they don’t offer any of the ten types of provision listed that could help working parents.

For employees
When it comes to making a request for flexible working as an employee the procedures can vary depending on the employer. The standard flexible working request procedure is taken form The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR). BERR tells us that to make a request you must be an employee with at least 26 weeks service who is responsible for a child under 6 (or under 18 if they get a Disability Living Allowance), or the carer of a disabled adult. You are not able to make a request if one has already been made within the past 12 months.

Although it is not a requirement, and some employers may request that you use their own request form, GOV.UK offer a request form that can be used in order to make sure you are following the procedure. Once the form is filled in the employer must meet with the employee within 28 days to discuss the request, following this the employer has 14 days to respond to the request. If the request is rejected then the employer must offer written reasons indicating why.

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