A new campaign launches today to remind dads of their rights at work.
Flexible working is increasingly important to modern dads who want to take care of their children, according to figures published today by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
- Request flexible working – parents of a child 16 or under, are entitled to request flexible working such as flexi time, part time or working from home, and, by law, an employer must seriously consider the request;
- Paid paternity leave – new dads can take two weeks’ paid leave. They need to notify their employer 15 weeks before the due date; and
- Parental leave – dads may take up to 13 weeks unpaid leave until their child is five years old.
The month long awareness campaign, called Dads at Work, will see posters and consumer information leaflets distributed in outlets such as doctors’ surgeries, hospitals and antenatal clinics, directing dads to www.direct.gov.uk/dadsatwork for detailed information. Online advertising will also appear on websites that attract high volumes of ‘dad’ visitors.
More than half (56%) of dads surveyed with children 16 and under said that they would look for an employer who offers flexible working when choosing a new job.
The overwhelming majority (91%) of dads with children aged five or under believe it is important that fathers have the option to take paid paternity leave. Nearly two thirds (62%) believe a dad’s relationship with their child will suffer if they are not at home after the baby is born.
However, while these findings show how important it is to fathers to spend time with their family, some remain unsure of the rights currently in place to help them. The poll found:
- a fifth (20%) of dads with kids 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;
- one in three (34%) parents with children aged nought to five did not realise that paid paternity leave is law; and
- one in five (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).
The research comes as BIS launches a campaign to raise awareness among dads of their rights at work to help them care for their child.
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 that 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.”