With plans to allow parents to share their 50 week maternity leave entitlement by 2015, the UK is looking forward to a far more flexible way of working for both parents; but how many dads will take advantage of the changes, and is there still a stigma attached to the part-time working dad?
Over the past decade, substantial social change has affected the traditional working family. Our attitude to working – along with how we shape our families – has been influenced by the recession, changing workplace legislation, and evolving attitudes towards gender equality. It’s no longer unusual for the woman to be the highest earning partner in a relationship, and against this backdrop, a new trend has emerged: that of the part-time dads, who take a greater role in the upbringing of their children.
But it’s not financial matters alone that are responsible for this emerging trend. As well as examining the more diverse reasons behind the subtle shift in what were once traditional gender roles, we wanted to find out if men were making the most of their paternity leave entitlement. Related to this, we also wanted to find out whether companies were actively offering paternity leave and flexible working options, and how our wider society perceives dads who have gone part-time. And the findings were surprising.