Where are the positive fatherhood role models from UK PLC?

I want you to think of the world of business and commerce. I’m not talking small and medium sized businesses, I mean big companies from UK PLC, those in the FTSE 100. I’m now going to set you a challenge. Can you name one male figure from the world of big business who has taken a period of shared parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child? You can’t? Me neither.

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How many men employed at board level in the UK’s biggest companies have set an example for employees by taking shared parental leave? I went on a quest to find out.
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How to make an effective flexible working request

Balancing work and family life can be difficult for any working mum or dad. Ensuring you can meet your obligations to your employer while being around for your children is never easy and it was this struggle that ultimately lead to me leaving paid employment. Flexible working is becoming more and more common and recent changes in the law mean employers are under a greater obligation to consider such requests.

Making a request for flexible working can be daunting. The guest post below has been written by Jude Wells, Rights Adviser at the charity Working Families. It gives you the legal background and provides a number of detailed hints and tips to hep you make a flexible working request. I hope you find it useful and good luck if you put in a request to work this way.

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Submitting a request for flexible working can be daunting. This guide from the charity Working Families my help. Pic credit: Sabine van Straaten on Unsplash.

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Night time view from Quay 9, Media City UK

I took this picture late at night last Sunday when I unexpectedly found myself in Manchester (more about that in a moment). It’s the view from Quay No. 9 on the Media City UK complex.

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The night time view from Quay 9 at Media City UK in Manchester.

For some time I’ve been wanting to get a decent photograph of a reflection. While this isn’t the flaw-free reflection I was hoping for, I like to think it is a reasonable first attempt.

I simply put my camera on a gorillapod, lined it up and adjusted it so it had a long exposure time. I suspect the slightly blurred effect on the water is a result of the exposure time being slightly too long.

Alas, I didn’t feel all that comfortable dedicated further time to see if I could get a better picture. It was late at night, there were very few people around and I had noticed a scallie or two in the distance showing an interest in what I was doing. In fairness, they were probably completely harmless, but returning to my hotel seemed like the better option!

So what was I doing in Manchester? I had been asked to appear on the BBC Breakfast sofa with Sarah Jackson, chief executive of the charity Working Families.

We were both to go on air to discuss Working Families’ latest ‘Modern Families Index’ and what’s been dubbed The Fatherhood Penalty. I won’t go into the details here, you can read about them in this blog post.

Unbeknownst to me, BBC Breakfast is no longer filmed in London, which would have been a short train journey. These days it is filmed at the BBC’s Media City studios so I had to arrange some childcare and travel up the night before. It was a lot of effort but it was a great experience and for a good cause.

It also gave me the opportunity to go out do some urban photography late at night. I have linked this post to the marvellous #MySundayPhoto photography linky hosted by the brilliant Photalife blog. Please do click on the badge below to visit the linky and see what other bloggers have been getting up to with their cameras.




The Fatherhood Penalty

For a very long time, there’s been discussion and debate about keeping skilled women in the workforce after they become parents. Some new research, however, has shone the light on us fathers and the so-called Fatherhood Penalty.

In a nut shell, the research suggests the UK workforce may experience an even bigger skills gap as men, struggling to balance work and family life, downgrade careers so they can spend more time at home. I have to say, it comes as no surprise to me whatsoever.

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The Fatherhood Penalty: at long last getting some recognition, but will it make any difference? Pic credit: Jordan Whitfield

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Shared parental leave…a policy in need of updating?

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One of the Government’s shared parental leave posters. Was the policy ever going to work?

Shared parental leave has been in place since April 2015 and new research from the charity Working Families has found that only .5% to 2% of eligible fathers have thus far made use of it. This will come of little surprise to anyone familiar with the policy.

Such low take-up figures prove beyond doubt that shared parental leave needs to be overhauled with better statutory paternity pay for fathers. It also shows the policy needs changing to compel fathers to take SPL. View Post