Juggling work and childcare is often seen as a mother’s problem, but a recent study shows that fathers are also finding it difficult. Dads take a much more active part in parenting nowadays, but employers are failing to catch up. Fathers say they are forced to invent excuses or pull sickies so they can fulfill their childcare responsibilities.
All employees have a right to request flexible working but asking for something and getting it are two very different things. It is relatively easy for an employer to refuse a request as long as they can show a genuine business reason.
But this is a short-sighted approach. A significant proportion of fathers who took part in this study said they had changed jobs after their child was born because they wanted more flexibility. Losing an employee can be an expensive process leading to recruitment costs, time spend interviewing etc. Much better to be more family friendly and hang on to your existing staff.
“Dads are pulling sickies and making up child illnesses, timed at 4.30pm so they can leave work. Once they run out of excuses, they look for a new job.”