Fatherhood taking a toll on working dads

New survey for insurance firm Zurich finds working dads cite lack of sleep, financial worries and the return to work as the hardest parts of becoming a father.



Most working dads believe men suffer emotionally and mentally when they have to juggle work with a newborn.

Nearly three quarters of working dads questioned for new research for insurance firm Zurich said adjusting to family life took a toll.

The biggest problem is lack of sleep followed by financial worries. Two in five cited the return to work as the hardest part.

A quarter said they’d have to sacrifice their career in order to achieve the flexibility their family commitments require. This echoes the findings of our latest survey of working parents.


More than a third however (37%) admitted that having children has actually made them focus on their careers. However these dads admitted it meant sacrificing time at home with their children.

Interestingly, most dads (89%) said their employers were accommodating towards them having children. Though only 43% have family friendly working practices in place to support them. More than one in 10 however, said that their employer was not accommodating. That potentially makes it difficult for them to play active roles as parents.

The findings come as Zurich’s equalised approach to maternity and paternity leave for its 4,500 UK employees has come into force. Fathers at the firm are now entitled to 16 weeks paid leave.

Zurich’s new family friendly policies include support for those who adopt. And also for those whose children are born prematurely with additional paid leave for the premature period. There is also paid leave to support through the IVF process; for people who’ve suffered miscarriage; a refreshed policy for those with caring responsibilities and a new bereavement and compassionate leave policy.


Steve Collinson, Zurich’s Head of HR said: “Our own external research points to the fact that many dads don’t feel like they’re getting the support they need when their families grow.  Ideally, this should include time off to bond with their new families but also ongoing flexibility to enable them to continue contributing at work. The current deal for most dads and partners, ultimately impacts both parents. It seems outdated given the shifts we’re seeing in family make-up and the roles we play.

“As an employer, we’re hugely proud of our family friendly approach – which is all about doing what’s right for our employees.  All of us at one stage or another need flexibility at work whether that’s to bond with and adapt to new additions, caring for ageing relatives or supporting those at the end of life.”

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