14 JUNE 2018

The Women and Equalities Committee today published the Government's response to their report on Fathers and the workplace. The Government has said it wants a public debate about funding workplace support for dads, in response to the report. However, it rejects most of the recommendations which were designed to modernise workplace policies for 21st century families. 

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society says:

"This is a huge missed opportunity to help families and to address one of the biggest inequalities in our society. We need nothing short of a revolution in our approach to leave for dads and yet what we have is a government in denial. This is not the 1950s. The world has radically changed and government policy must urgently catch up.

"Shared Parental Leave doesn't deliver what we need because it doesn't start from a presumption of equal responsibility to care. Until we create a longer, better paid period of use it or lose it leave for fathers which they can afford to take we won't make any meaningful progress on closing the pay gap and pregnancy discrimination will continue to be an everyday occurrence."

Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Maria Miller MP, said: 

“The Government has previously voiced good intentions when it comes to family friendly policies but the response to our report is a missed opportunity.

Dads are calling for change and the Gender Pay Gap will not be tackled until dads get the support they need to support their children too.
Our inquiry heard from a range of well-informed voices including employers, unions and fathers themselves. Many cited the poor take up of key initiatives such as Shared Parental Leave as sign they are not working. It is regrettable that more of this evidence base has not been acted upon.  
It is also surprising that the Government’s response does not refer to its own recently published research on the gender pay gap which found that if men and women took similar amounts of unpaid family leave the gender pay gap would decrease by 13%.  
Despite this, there is some encouragement that ministers recognise the need for a debate about the costs and benefits of modernising workplace support for fathers and families. We will continue to press for reform.” 

Read the full report and Government response here.

Get involved

Supporting fathers in the workplace is a key part of closing the gender pay gap. A recent Government Equalities Office report found that if men and women took similar amounts of unpaid family leave, the size of the gender pay gap would decrease by 13%

We want to hear from fathers who have experience of sharing care, or wanted to spend more time caring for their child but felt unable to. We’d also love to hear from anyone who has benefited from their male partner sharing parental leave, or employers who have taken steps to help their staff with flexible working arrangements.

On Father's Day and beyond, we'll publish a series of short messages across our social media highlighting the specific issues fathers and mothers face. What is your message to the Government, employers or other new parents about sharing care this Father’s Day? Send your message to us by filling out this quick form.