Nearly half (44 per cent) of fathers have experienced discrimination in the workplace after exercising their right to take time off to look after their child.

New research found that fathers had experienced discrimination after either taking Shared Parental Leave or Paternity Leave*.

The research was carried out to assess the impact and uptake of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) on fathers in the workplace. SPL was introduced in 2015 to allow parents to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of statutory pay between them following the birth of a child and is designed to allow couples to split child-caring roles more equally.

A staggering 1 in 4 fathers suffered verbal abuse or mockery after taking time off to look after their child.

The survey further found that over a third (35per cent) of new dads suffered a negative impact on their career after exercising their right to parental leave. Of these, 17 percent suffered job loss, while nearly 20 percent received a demotion.

With just one in 10 fathers having taken SPL since its introduction in 2015, the research indicates that men are actively discouraged from taking on child-caring responsibilities.

This prevalent workplace culture means many fathers are reluctant to ask employers for their entitlements for fear of a negative impact on their careers; 44 percent of fathers responding to the Modern Families Index in 2017 said they had lied or bent the truth to their employer about family-related responsibilities that might be seen as interfering with work.

This new research further supports the reality of a workplace hostile to men taking time away from the office for child-raising, with over half (55 per cent) of employers believing that workers at their organisation feel taking SPL would limit their career.

Jason Downes, MD of PowWowNow commented on the findings,

It’s high time workplace culture evolved to ensure fathers are confident their rights as parents will be respected. Employers must implement family-friendly policies and better encourage the uptake of flexible working practices that allow men to help raise children and better fit work around family life. By making flexible working a part of the workplace, we can make office culture more friendly to new parents. There are a wealth of new technologies making working away from the office easier than ever; meaning there is no reason new fathers cannot be supported when they choose to spend time with their new-born. No parent should have to worry their career will suffer as a result of this choice.

*Commissioned by PowWowNow

Interested in diversity and bias in the workplace? We recommend Diversity and Inclusion for HR Professionals training day and Unconscious Bias in the Workplace training day.