Dads @ work – What they want

Kiwi men want to spend more time with their kids – but work gets in the way.
In an online survey run by EEO Trust and attracting 1200 responses, 82 percent of dads said their paid work negatively affects the amount of time they spend with their children. Over half say their paid work affects the quality of time they spend with their kids.
EEO Trust executive director Trudie McNaughton says this is in line with international research which shows men want to spend more time with their children than their fathers spent with them.
She says this is an issue for workplaces which have tried to help women balance work and family but have sometimes left men out of the equation.
“Workplaces sometimes assumed that what would work for mothers would also work for fathers, and sometimes neglected to consider fathers at all,” she says. “However men are saying they also need flexibility in order to be the kind of fathers they want to be. And women recognise that equity at work is more likely when men share caring responsibilities.”
When asked how workplaces could help them be the sort of father they want to be, the most popular options were flexibility of work hours, including the option of taking some time off during the day or sometimes being able to work from home. Something office workers tend to take for granted is the need for access to phone so parent can be readily contacted by children, their caregivers or teachers when necessary. Other options included support to take parental leave, less work pressure, more support from senior management for them as father and provision of school holiday programmes.
While most of the men who completed the survey were fathers, 126 were not. Of these, 82 percent wanted to have children in the future. When asked if they thought they could be the sort of father they wanted to be if they stayed in their current job, 55 percent said no.
“Men who feel they can’t be the sort of father they want to be in their current job, are likely to try and find new employer who will give them more support,” says Trudie McNaughton. “Workplaces which are serious about recruiting and retaining the best people need to take men’s desire to be good fathers seriously.”

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