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Employers urged to give working fathers more rights

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Working fathers are often overlooked by employers, who tend to forget that men have duties at home as well as in the workplace.

And as males are usually seen as the breadwinners, they do not get the same degrees of flexibility or sympathy as their female counterparts, leading to inequality issues.

This is according to Ben Black, co-founder of benefits provider My Family Care. He told HR Magazine that employers therefore have a duty to engage dads as well as mums in the office and to care for both parents’ needs.

Mr Black believes that unless there is gender equality in the workplace and dads are offered the same initiatives as women, there will never be gender equality at home.

As a result, company bosses are being urged to do something to change this disparity in shared office environments.

“Embracing men as talent as well as dads is essential. That’s exactly why some of the UK’s most forward thinking employers such as Deloitte, P&G and Bank of America have started to talk about dads,” Mr Black said.

In addition to the lack of consideration for working fathers, a study by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) found that fewer than one per cent of dads take advantage of paternity leave after the birth of a child.

The report showed that in 2011 and 2012, only around 1,650 out 285,000 men decided to opt for the statutory rate of £136 a week in order to look after their child.

Although fathers are entitled to up 26 weeks leave, many feel the low weekly payment – which is rarely topped up by employers – is not enough to support their family.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Poor levels of financial support are preventing new dads from taking extra time off and are particularly affecting low-paid fathers who simply cannot afford to take leave.”

Ms O’Grady therefore called for governments and firms to work together to extend paternity pay from two to six weeks and to pay a better statutory rate. This “would make a massive difference, as has been shown in other countries”, she added.