Monday, June 4, 2007

Dads in the Workplace

The issues that working mothers face in the workplace have for years been addressed by the media (see the New York Times' controversial Opt-Out Revolution) while the plight of their counterparts, working fathers, has been vastly overlooked. Working fathers are equally eager to spend more time at home with their children and achieve a better work and life balance as working mothers. Their needs can be addressed by a workplace culture that accepts flexibility in scheduling for family and home obligations. Workplace benefits that help fathers may include:
  • Paternity leave: while unpaid leave is often not taken by men, the mere availability of paternity and adoption leave policies for fathers will help to enforce the acceptance of a father's responsibilities at home
  • Daily flex scheduling: fluid start and end times will allow fathers to attend school plays, soccer games, and doctor's appointments. Flexible scheduling needs to be offered without stigma. Eliminate stigma by redefining corporate values in support of productivity, not face time.
  • Inclusive language: offer family-friendly benefits and parenting support groups. Using this inclusive language will avoid alienating working fathers from programs generally marketed for working mothers.
  • Education and support: opportunities for education and support groups will bring fathers together and help them see that they are not alone in facing issues of fatherhood at work.
  • Provide positive role models: management should provide good role models for other working fathers by working reasonable hours, involving their own children at work, and remaining understanding about father's changing daily needs at work and at home.
Is your business father-friendly? Take this Business Check-up offered by the National Fatherhood Initiative.

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