Parliamentary committee launches inquiry into workplace support for fathers


The Women and Equalities Committee has today (Monday 16 January 2017) launched an inquiry into how fathers can be better supported in the workplace to enable them to manage caring responsibilities more effectively.

The inquiry, which will collect evidence until 1 March 2017, follows on from the Committee’s Gender pay gap report, which was published in March 2016.

The inquiry will seek views on issues such as whether current working arrangements help fathers fulfil their caring responsibilities; whether there are employment-related barriers to fathers sharing caring roles equally with their partners, or social or attitudinal barriers that need to be challenged; whether fathers have the financial support to take on caring responsibilities and what changes to the workplace, such as an increase in freelance, casual or agency working, could have an impact on fathers.

The committee will also ask what role the government, employers and other stakeholders could play in overcoming any barriers, looking at potential policy or legislative changes that would be most effective in supporting fathers with caring responsibilities.

In addition, the inquiry will ask for evidence on whether there are any specific challenges for fathers who work in particular employment sectors, or for fathers from particular groups or backgrounds. It will also explore employer best practice examples from the UK or internationally that could be taken up more widely.

Maria Miller, chair of The Women and Equalities Committee, said: “Many fathers want to take a more active role in caring for their children. Our report on the gender pay gap found that investing in policies that support men to share childcare equally, and allow women to continue working, will reap financial benefits as well as reducing the gender pay gap.

“Supporting parents in the workplace is a priority for the government. Yet it admits that its flagship shared parental leave policy is likely to have a very low take-up rate.

“Following our work on the gender pay gap, the Women and Equalities Committee is now asking whether fathers are being failed in the workplace. Clearly more needs to be done. We are keen to hear views from individuals as well as organisations about the changes which they would like to see.”