Almost a third of fathers lack access to flexible work arrangements

April 10, 2018 by Tony Trueman, British Sociological Association

Almost a third of working fathers in the UK lack access to flexible work arrangements, new research says.

The British Sociological Association's annual conference in Newcastle heard today [Tuesday 10 April] that 30 percent of employed surveyed could not work part-time, have flexible employment hours or work in a job share.

The rate for women without flexible working was lower –10 percent, the researchers, from the UCL Institute of Education, the University of East Anglia, and the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) found.

The researchers examined data on 3,965 mothers and 4,211 fathers who were in employment and had children aged 16 or younger. They found that:

  • 42 percent of fathers and 78 percent of mothers had the opportunity to work part-time
  • 19 percent of fathers and 31 percent of mothers had the opportunity to work in a job share
  • 13 percent of fathers and 28 percent of mothers could work during term-time only
  • 38 percent of fathers and 37 percent of mothers could work in a flexi-time arrangement
  • 23 percent of fathers and 19 percent of mothers could work from home
  • 30 percent of fathers and 10 percent of reported that none of these options were available.

All staff who have worked for at least six months in a job have the right to ask for flexible working arrangements, and employers can only refuse if they have a good business reason.

Fathers in lower status occupations, in the private sector, and in non-unionized workplaces had less access to flexible working, compared to fathers in professional and managerial occupations, the public sector, and unionized workplaces.

The researchers were: Rose Cook and Professor Margaret O'Brien, of UCL Institute of Education; Professor Sara Connolly and Dr. Matthew Aldrich, of the University of East Anglia; and Dr. Svetlana Speight, of NatCen.

Ms Cook told the conference: "This research underscores both a striking lack of access among fathers in general, and that flexible working is not being made sufficiently available to all groups of working fathers.

"For fathers, both individual characteristics and features of workplaces are important in determining lack of access to flexible working.

"Fathers' lack of access to flexible working is associated with a combination of disadvantages relating to low education, lower status occupations, employers and lack of union presence."

By analysing the data, the researchers found that fathers in technical occupations were almost three times more likely to lack access to than those in professional and managerial positions.

Explore further: Why flexible working is key if shared parental leave is to have a lasting impact on the gender pay gap

Related Stories

Boys suffer from their fathers' long working hours

August 22, 2013

Fathers' extremely long working hours can be detrimental to their sons´ wellbeing. This is the key finding of a longitudinal study by Jianghong Li (senior researcher at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center) and four Australian ...

Fathers' involvement may help prevent childhood obesity

June 21, 2017

Fathers are becoming more involved with raising children, but limited research has examined their association with childhood obesity. In a recent study, fathers' increased involvement with child caregiving was linked with ...

Recommended for you

Nanoscale Lamb wave-driven motors in nonliquid environments

March 19, 2019

Light driven movement is challenging in nonliquid environments as micro-sized objects can experience strong dry adhesion to contact surfaces and resist movement. In a recent study, Jinsheng Lu and co-workers at the College ...

OSIRIS-REx reveals asteroid Bennu has big surprises

March 19, 2019

A NASA spacecraft that will return a sample of a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu to Earth in 2023 made the first-ever close-up observations of particle plumes erupting from an asteroid's surface. Bennu also revealed itself ...

The powerful meteor that no one saw (except satellites)

March 19, 2019

At precisely 11:48 am on December 18, 2018, a large space rock heading straight for Earth at a speed of 19 miles per second exploded into a vast ball of fire as it entered the atmosphere, 15.9 miles above the Bering Sea.

Levitating objects with light

March 19, 2019

Researchers at Caltech have designed a way to levitate and propel objects using only light, by creating specific nanoscale patterning on the objects' surfaces.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (1) Apr 11, 2018
Tough it out ''boys'', assuming you are of that gender or identify as one. Our generation did it without it, many of our unspoiled LEGAL immigrants can, and are doing can too, get rid of the $ 800 cell phones, $ 80,000 cars, and 65'' TV's. Quit whining, work hard, and sacrifice and you'll survive without inconveniencing your employer and fellow employees. If you want socialism, head to Europe where they do all that crap.................but you'll pay for it with 50% income tax...................oh, I seem to be paying that now.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.