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Fathers could face discrimination for spending time with their children.

Fathers could face discrimination for spending time with their children.

The expectation that men are the breadwinners whilst women stay at home to tend to the children is an old fashioned view which is out of date. A more modern attitude to parenting is sharing the responsibilities where possible which increasingly sees more men staying at home with the children or working part-time and the mothers returning to work full time.

However, the results of a recent survey carried out by the University of Plymouth suggests that UK employers are less keen to employ men on

part-time contracts. The survey also showed that when choosing to work less hours and applying for part-times roles, men were perceived to be ‘suspicious or deviant’ and their commitment to their careers was questioned.

Ashley Hunt, Director at Lawson West Solicitors states: “Employers need to be aware of the changing landscape of modern parenting. All employees, both female and male deserve to be treated fairly without any bias and should be judged on their skills and abilities - not any outside influences such as their parental responsibilities. To be perceived as suspicious or deviant to ‘normal’ practice is a sign that a shift in perception needs to take place.”

Workplaces can also fall down on the lack of support offered to part-time working fathers. Conclusions drawn also point towards the employment sector needing to work harder to close the gap on any workplace discrimination faced by either mothers or fathers.

In the UK, men are typically entitled to 2 weeks paid paternity leave. Paternity leave was only formally introduced in 2003, prior to this men had to use annual leave or take unpaid leave. By comparison, Sweden has recently increased their paternity leave to 90 days.

Furthermore, reports show that less new mothers develop anti-natal depression if the baby’s father is around longer to offer support after the birth.

Shared parental leave is becoming more and more popular, although there are no set laws surrounding the exact pay scales this issue is open to challenge with a clear possibility of discrimination.

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