Society Magazine

Two Thirds of Men Would Be Happy to Be a Stay-at-home Dad

Posted on the 05 March 2015 by 72point @72hub

Two thirds of men would be happy to be a stay-at-home dad, a study has revealed.

Despite mums traditionally dealing with the majority of childcare, three quarters of men say they would be happy to quit work during their son or daughter’s first year so that their partner can return to their job, instead of taking the usual period of maternity leave.

And almost one in twenty men are already responsible for looking after their children whilst their wife or girlfriend goes to work.
It also emerged that 72 per cent of women would also be happy if their other half wanted to look after the children with 65 per cent worrying about the effect any time off would have on their career.

The statistics emerged in a study commissioned by national law firm Irwin Mitchell a month before a change in the law which will see couples have the opportunity to start sharing parental leave.

But these results show the new laws designed to encourage parents to share time off work following the birth of their child look set to be far more popular than government predictions had previously stated.

Irwin Mitchell employment partner Glenn Hayes said: “For a long time now, the traditional roles have seen dads returning to work just days after their baby has been born, while mums take a year or so away from their career to look after the children.

“But times are changing and it’s becoming easier, and more acceptable, for dads to take on the role of caregiver, while mums become the main breadwinner. What’s more, it seems the majority of men are happy to have it this way around.

“Thanks to changes coming into effect in April, working couples will be able to share that period of leave over the first year, meaning neither one has to miss out on such a large amount of time away – whether it’s from their career or baby.
“Shared parental leave is one of the most significant changes to flexible working rights but it is still uncertain how many families are expected to take up the new right.

“According to Government projections, as few as 5,700 men will apply over the next 12 months, but the figures in this survey suggest that the appetite for doing so could be much stronger with take up being much higher.

“So it’s important businesses and employers need to be prepared for the changes before they come into force, and know their rights as well as those of their employees.”

The study of 2,000 men and women found 66 per cent of men would be happy to take on the role of stay-at-home dad, whilst another three quarters would happily work part-time to allow their partner to return full-time.

Four in 10 say this is down to them wanting to be a bigger part of their child’s life than they would be if they worked full-time while 19 per cent worry they will miss out on too much of their child’s life otherwise.

More than a third say it’s the most sensible option for them as their wife or girlfriend earns more than them, with another 23 per cent not enjoying their job whilst their other half does.

One in twenty said taking the time off work will be less detrimental to their career than that of their partner.

Other reasons men want to take on the childcare role include it being easier for them to work around school or nursery hours than their partner, believing it would be less stressful to look after the kids than go to work and not wanting to commute anymore.

Sixty-one per cent even claimed they would be happy to become a stay-at-home dad, even if it had a detrimental effect on their career in the future.

But the researcher found that whilst most would be happy to share their decision, 23 per cent of men wouldn’t be comfortable telling their friends about their plan to be a stay-at-home dad, while 49 per cent would be worried about others judging them.

Glenn Hayes, an employment Partner at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, added: “These figures may take businesses by surprise and it is vital that they deal effectively with what is an extremely complex piece of legislation.

“It is important that employees start their conversations with their employers as early as possible in relation to shared leave, but it is vital that companies deal with the requests in the correct manner.

“Many businesses have been slow to prepare themselves for this important change and in doing so have left themselves exposed open to the risk of mishandling requests and inviting claims for discrimination.”

Shared Parental Leave rules allow those whose children are expected to be born or adopted from 5 April will be able to share up to 50 weeks of parental leave between mom and dad during the first year after a baby is born/child is adopted.

Previously, the majority of dads had two weeks paternity leave while mums could have up to 12 months maternity leave and nine months paid maternity leave.

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