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Supporting fathers and partners through family-friendly policies

Author: Liz Morris

Contributing author: Vicki Robinson


  • Employers that support fathers can help them to balance their work and family commitments, and improve their performance and loyalty to the organisation. (See The business case for good practice towards fathers)
  • Policies on paternity leave, ordinary parental leave and shared parental leave enable line managers and employees to become familiar with their rights and obligations. (See Policies that engage fathers)
  • Giving fathers the opportunity to work flexibly can improve their performance and motivation. (See Flexible working)
  • A good relationship between the line manager and employee is key to the employee's successful re-introduction to work following ordinary parental leave or shared parental leave. (See Training for line managers)
  • Employers that encourage fathers to identify themselves can offer them support more easily. (See Encouraging fathers to identify themselves)
  • Offering fathers benefits that exceed the statutory minimum can help them to balance work and family commitments and engender loyalty to the organisation. (See Enhanced benefits and support for fathers)
  • Various mechanisms can be put in place to help fathers cope with the competing demands of work and family. (See Training and development for fathers)
  • A job analysis will help the employer to identify the most appropriate option for performance of the employee's role while they are on ordinary parental leave or shared parental leave, and a handover plan will ensure that all parts of the role are considered. (See Cover for the employee's role and Handover of the employee's role)
  • The employer should plan how to inform stakeholders of the employee's intention to take ordinary parental leave or shared parental leave. (See Communication with stakeholders)
  • Keeping in touch with the employee during their absence on ordinary parental leave or shared parental leave will encourage them to maintain practical and emotional ties with the organisation. (See Keeping in touch)
  • A return-to-work plan will help to ensure that the employer is prepared for the employee's return following ordinary parental leave or shared parental leave. It should give the employee a short period to adjust to their new routine. (See The return-to-work plan, Practical steps to prepare for the employee's return to work and Support for the employee on their return to work)
  • Employers can help employees to adjust to the changing demands of parenthood as their children age. (See Ongoing support for fathers)
  • Assisting fathers with childcare could minimise employee absenteeism and stress caused by a breakdown in childcare arrangements. (See Childcare support)
  • Employers should provide practical and emotional assistance to fathers when unexpected events occur during pregnancy or following the birth of their child. (See Unexpected circumstances)