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Equalities Committee launch inquiry into "fatherhood penalty"

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The Women and Equalities Committee will consult the Government on how employers can better support fathers in the workplace, it has been announced.

The inquiry follows a report last year which revealed that almost half of working fathers would like to downshift to a less stressful job because they want a better work-life balance.

The report’s author, Working Families, said that employers needed to ensure work was designed in a way that would help both men and women work around their caring responsibilities.

“A game-changing first step would be government creating a new, properly paid, extended period of paternity leave – sending [a] clear signal that government recognises the aspirations of modern fathers and is serious about tackling the motherhood penalty that blights the working lives of so many women,” said Sarah Jackson, Working Families’ chief executive.

Similarly, a report published by the Committee in March 2016 found that shared parental leave will have a predicted take-up rate of just two to eight per cent.

Maria Miller, Committee chair, said: “Supporting parents in the workplace is a priority for the Government. Yet it admits that its flagship shared parental leave policy is likely to have a very low take-up rate.

“Following our work on the gender pay gap, the Women and Equalities Committee is now asking whether fathers are being failed in the workplace. Clearly more needs to be done. We are keen to hear views from individuals as well as organisations about the changes which they would like to see.”

The inquiry will close on 1 March 2017.