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University of Birmingham’s Equal Parenting Project launches free toolkit packed with advice and resources for big and small companies who want to support employees who are dads
The University of Birmingham’s Equal Parenting Project has published a new ‘Fathers in the workplace’ toolkit.
The toolkit includes ideas and resources for firms looking to support working dads.
It was unveiled at a Westminster reception that included presentations from firms with pioneering paternity policies. There was also a panel discussion involving MPs, business leaders and campaigners.
The toolkit is free and can be found on the Equal Parenting Project website. It contains a range of resources for big businesses and for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
It includes five top tips for organisations to better support fathers in the workplace.
The researchers, Dr Holly Birkett and Dr Sarah Forbes who are co-directors of the Equal Parenting Project, also call on firms to be as generous as possible in funding parental leave. Many fathers cite financial concerns as a reason for not taking more time off when they become fathers.
Dr Birkett explained that there is growing evidence that shows fathers want to spend more time with their families. However they cite a number of barriers including finances and cultural norms.
Dr Forbes added that “workplace culture needs a bit of a kick when it comes to fathers.”
Other speakers included KPMG Head of People Anna Purchas. She said that when she tours job fairs she finds students increasingly ask about paternity policies and she added, “Policies are great but practice is what matters.” She said KPMG encourages dads to ‘parent loudly’ – to role model by being clear when they are changing their work pattern to accommodate childcare needs.
Antony Fitzpatrick of Aviva, who spoke to us after the company won our Best for Dads award, emphasised that a successful parental leave policy has to be simple. He talked up the benefits to business of improving the offer to parents. Aviva recently published it’s latest statistics showing increasing takeup of extended paternity leave. Dads at the company now take an average of five months off.
The event concluded with a lively Q&A session that covered the particular challenges for small businesses, how to support parents of older children and what companies can do to share resources publicly. Tory MP Maria Miller, formerly chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, summed up and thanked everyone for taking part.