Parliamentary review of social policy and childcare

  • Created by: holly6901
  • Created on: 12-05-20 08:22

Timeline of rights and responsibilities for father

  • 1961: Fathers spend 12-15% of the time caring for infant children than mothers
  • 1999: Introduction of unpaid parental leave for parents of children under 5
  • 1999: Fathers spend 1/3 of the time caring for preschoolers than mothers do
  • 2003: Right to request flexible working for parents of children under 5 and disabled children under 17
  • 2003: Two weeks paid paternity leave at a flat rate
  • 2011: Additional pay and paternity leave up to 6 months if the mother went back before the end of her maternity leave
  • 2014: Right to request flexible working extended to all employees with 26 weeks continuous pay
  • 2014: Right to take unpaid time off to attend 2 antenatal appointments
  • 2015: Shared parental leave - mothers can transfer up to 50 weeks of parental leave or shared between them 
  • 2015: Unpaid parental leave extended to children under 18
  • 2017: Fathers now spend half the time caring for preschoolers than mothers do
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Timeline of rights and responsibilities for mother

  • 1948: Maternity allowance introduced
  • 1976: 40 weeks of maternity leave introduced (6 weeks paid at 90% 12 weeks flat rate
  • 1999: Unpaid parental leave for parents of children under 5
  • 2003: 1-year maternity leave introduced (flat rate increased to 20 weeks)
  • 2003: Right to request flexible working for parents of children under 5 or disabled children under 17
  • 2007: 1-year maternity leave (flat rate increased to 33 weeks)
  • 2014: Right to request flexible working for all employees after 26 weeks of continuous payment
  • 2015: Unpaid parental leave to parents of children under 18
  • 2015: Shared  parental leave
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Benefits to children of paternity leave

  • Fathers’ leave-taking, especially of more than two weeks, is associated with more involvement in childcare which, in turn, is linked to better outcomes for children this includes:
    • Performing better on cognitive tests 
    • Being better prepared to start school
    • A downward trend in young children’s injuries
  • Supportive fatherhood contributes to effective child development and reduces the potential for social problems.”
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Fathers changing attitudes to childcare

  • In 1961 the amount of time fathers spent caring for preschoolers was 12 to 15 per cent of the time spent doing so by mothers; by 2017 it was almost half, meaning that for every hour a mother devotes to caring for a young child a father now devotes, on average, 30 minutes.
  • Fathers increasingly want to spend more time caring for their children, and that this is particularly true of a younger generation of fathers
    • The Modern Families Index 2017 found that, when asked whether they would assess their childcare needs before taking a new job or promotion, 76 per cent of younger fathers said they would
    •  Sarah Jackson of Working Families, which publishes The Modern Families Index, said that younger fathers often find that they do not have the role they want
  • Professor Margaret O'Brien described a 'work-family conflict' where work makes family time more difficult and vice-versa
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Social policy to help fathers

  • There are a range of policies that help fathers
    •  Time off to attend antenatal appointments
    • Statutory paternity leave and pay
    • shared parental leave and pay
    • The right to request flexible working
    • Unpaid parental leave and time off for dependants
  • Margot James MP told us that fathers doing less than half of the childcare tasks in the home places too great a burden on women.
  • More positively, she said that “it is very important for family life that fathers get the chance to bond with their children, as mothers have always traditionally done”
  • fathers taking greater responsibility for childcare, and thus enabling women to re-join the workplace, will ultimately contribute to reducing the gender pay gap. This issue is therefore important not only for families but for the economy.
  • the Prime Minister has already called for companies to make flexible working “a reality for all employees” by advertising all jobs as flexible from day one, unless there are solid business reasons not to.
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How employment status affects parental support

  • A father’s employment status has a critical impact on his access to parental benefits; employed fathers can access the full range of benefits (if they meet the eligibility criteria), whereas fathers who are agency workers or in casualised jobs do not have access to the full range of entitlements.
  • Self-employment can bring flexibility for fathers who are dissatisfied with the support that employment provides for their childcare responsibilities.
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Cultural norms and fathers and childcare

  • Government policy has to overcome rigid social norms about gender roles which have a detrimental effect on the ability of fathers to access workplace support for their childcare responsibilities
  • Assumptions about who within a family is responsible for childcare can mean that fathers are ‘embarrassed’ to ask their employers for their entitlements, or fear the impact it could have on their career if they do, 44% of fathers have lied or bent the truth about family matters to bosses if they could affect work
  • Individual fathers who gave evidence to the inquiry told us about negative workplace cultures and 'macho cultures' at work
  • Fathers told us that employers routinely assumed that their child’s primary carer was the mother, even where childcare responsibility was shared or where he was the primary carer. 
  • They talked about being mocked by co-workers for working part-time to accommodate childcare pick-ups, with colleagues saying “Bye, part-timer”, or “Are you working part-time again?” or “Oh, you’re off early again”.
  • Fathers also told us that services such as schools, nurseries and healthcare services sometimes treated them as secondary, even where they were the primary carer, and young fathers, in particular, can feel marginalised by services.
  • Leave policies can influence the division of caring and domestic responsibilities between mothers and fathers over the longer term
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