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Working fathers would choose an employer that offers flexible working

Working dads are increasingly seeing the value of flexible working, Government research reveals.

According to figures published today by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) 56% of fathers surveyed, who have children aged 16 and under, said they would look for an employer who offers flexible working when choosing a new job.

And 91% of those with children aged five or under think it is important fathers have the option to take paid paternity leave. Nearly two thirds (62%) believe a father's relationship with his child will suffer if he is not at home after the baby is born.

But some remain unsure of the rights currently in place to help them. A fifth of working fathers with children aged 16 or under - who, by law, are entitled to request flexible working from their employer - did not know if their company offered flexible working to fathers.  

More than a third (34%) of parents with children aged nought to five did not realise that paid paternity leave is required by law and 22% wrongly assumed that fathers only needed to approach their employer to ask for this leave when the baby was born or before it was eight weeks old. To benefit from legal paternity rights, fathers must speak with their employer 15 weeks before the baby is due.

Employment relations minister Lord Young said: "We know that rights for dads at work are valued by people and that businesses also see real benefits in offering them. But our research shows there are still some dads out there that are not aware of what they are entitled to and therefore risk missing out.

"Our campaign is all about making sure dads know what they can do and to help them have more confidence as they weigh up what works best for them and their family. The key is to talk to their employer."

The research has been launched to coincide with a BIS campaign to raise awareness among fathers of their rights at work to help them care for their child.

 Currently fathers are entitled to:

  • Request flexible working - parents of a child 16 or under are entitled to request flexible working such as part time or working from home, and an employer must consider the request
  • Paid paternity leave - new fathers can take two weeks' paid leave. They need to notify their employer 15 weeks before the due date
  • Parental leave - dads have the right to take up to 13 weeks' unpaid leave until their child is five years old