Fathers face discrimination if they take parental leave

New research finds dads are being picked on and calls for a change in workplace culture

should i take paternity leave


Fathers that take shared parental leave or paternity leave routinely face discrimination upon their return to the workplace according to new research.

Around half of dads claimed they’d been treated differently simply for exercising their right to look after their own children.

Around a third say that taking up their entitlement to spend more time with their child saw their career stall. One in five say they were demoted while 17% blamed their decision to do more childcare for losing their job.

The research, commissioned by communications software firm PowWowNow, suggests that there is a widespread workplace culture that is putting men off taking up their entitlement to shared parental leave and paternity leave.

One in four say they have faced verbal abuse or mockery from co-workers or their employer for being a more engaged dad.

Workplace culture

The latest academic research suggests only around 1% of eligible dads are using shared parental leave while as many as 40% of men don’t even use the minimum two weeks off they can take and prefer to stay at work following the birth of their baby.

Jason Downes, MD of PowWowNow, said, “It’s high time workplace culture evolved to ensure fathers are confident their rights as parents will be respected. Employers must implement family-friendly policies and better encourage the uptake of flexible working practices that allow men to help raise children and better fit work around family life. By making flexible working a part of the workplace, we can make office culture more friendly to new parents.

“There are a wealth of new technologies making working away from the office easier than ever; meaning there is no reason new fathers cannot be supported when they choose to spend time with their new-born. No parent should have to worry their career will suffer as a result of this choice.”

The new evidence also suggests that men are discovering what women have known for some time. 50,000 women a year lose their job due to maternity discrimination. Research among mums last year found the proportion of women reporting negative comments or harassment when they returned to work following maternity leave or switched to flexible working matches the number of men claiming the same in the new findings by PowWowNow.

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