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The Supporting Dads & Returners white paper is based on a Workingmums.co.uk roundtable held in June 2017 and hosted by Lloyds Banking Group which brought together human resources and diversity heads at 11 of the UK’s leading employers.
The aim of the round table event was to share experiences of what works, and what the challenges are for two areas of interest: Supporting dads, and Returner Programmes.
The roundtable was chaired by Dr Emma Banister from Alliance Manchester Business School, who spoke about her Making Room for Dad project on fathers and fathering within the context of Shared Parental Leave.
In the session on supporting dads, there was a discussion about Shared Parental Leave (SPL). Attendees spoke about the need for better communication on the policy, which was very complicated. Enhancing Shared Parental Pay could also show that employers value dads being more involved in childcare and it was suggested that employers could do more to support dads during SPL.
Employers felt that flexible working was more of a focus for them with dads because of the low numbers currently opting for SPL. Support over flexible working and encouraging greater openness about being a dad at work could promote the kind of culture change which could lead to greater choice over sharing of care responsibilities between mums and dads.
Lloyds Banking Group described a huge appetite for parenting information from dads in their organisation. Their colleague network, Family Matters, normally gets 300-400 people listening into lunchtime sessions on parenting issues, but the ones on issues relating to dads get 800+ attendees. Other participants had also seen a huge interest from men in information and support for those with caring responsibilities.
On returner programmes, the roundtable discussed the expectation that career breaks would become the norm and that supporting returners therefore made increasing business sense. It was noted that flexible working was a key issue for returners.