Father-Friendly Workplaces

This Sunday is Father’s Day in the US and it’s a time when our nation celebrates the contribution that dads make to the future through the way they raise their children.

Fatherhood advocates maintain that widening work/life balance programs to address more of fathers’ needs has payback for both families and employers. In a newsletter posted at the HR Daily Advisor, http://www.newsletterarchive.org/from/HR+Daily+Advisor they share timely tips for father-friendly workplaces.

The National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), an organization dedicated to promoting greater involvement of fathers in family life, promotes involvement of fathers in raising healthy children. A report on their website indicates that children with involved fathers perform better on almost every measure, including higher self-esteem, higher grades, lower drug and alcohol use. And, according to another report, fathers indeed want to be more involved. In fact, they say that 7 of 10 fathers say they would take a pay cut if it meant that they could spend more time with their families. That’s a pretty whopping number!

Unfortunately, working fathers are reluctant to take more time off because they often don’t see the work/life programs (when they exist) as relevant to them and they get in their own way with their attitude. Many dads still operate under the old classic model of the father as the breadwinner while mom is at home caring for their children. And, today, this model is clearly no longer valid due to the growing number of mothers in the workforce and women as breadwinners for their families.

According to a study done by Vanier Institute in Canada, fathers, seeing themselves as family “breadwinners,” do not take advantage of workplace work/life balance programs that may be available, for three reasons: (1) fear of lost wages, (2) fear of losing their jobs or stalling their careers, and (3) guilt that colleagues need to take over for them. What these men and their managers may not realize, says NFI, is that allowing fathers opportunities to take time from work for family reasons is not only good for families, but also for employers.

Here are some suggestions for creating more of a “father-friendly” workplace:

  • Allow flexible scheduling so that dads have more control over their schedule, including sometimes where and when they work.
  • Communicate policies as family-friendly not for working mothers alone.
  • Lead by example. Have executives and senior management serve as role models by participating in programs and actively and visibly supporting from the top.
  • Provide education and support to fathers.
  • Offer paid paternity leave, to address the issue of fathers fearing loss of income in their breadwinner role.

For more on the National Fatherhood Initiative and to conduct a “Father Friendly Check-Up for Business” on your organization, visit http://www.fatherhood.org/.

Happy Father’s Day!


Coach Natalie Gahrmann

About The PriorityPro
Natalie Gahrmann, an international expert, empowers professional women to ignite their passion, demonstrate personal leadership and exude greater confidence. Her background in business acumen and leadership development is instinctively applied through 1-1 coaching, workshops and keynote presentations. She can help you gain clarity, focus and direction so that you accomplish more of what's important to YOU!

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