Fathers at work

Fathers at work
Friday 27 July, 0930 – 1050

Abstract
In Australia, the transition to parenthood heralds the “high water mark” in the gender division of labour for parents, and this division continues as children grow. Australian fathers work long full-time hours, and combined with other job characteristics, this yields challenges for fathers in balancing their work and family commitments, with consequences for their health and wellbeing.

Concurrently, there is increasing awareness of the value of supporting and encouraging fathers to share the care of young children with the child’s mother. This is not only benefits fathers, but forges their desired relationships with their children, and means that mothers’ engagement in employment is more easily sustained.
Government policies provide Dad and Partner Pay following the birth of an infant. Additionally, in their jobs, fathers can access flexible work arrangements to support their equitable care of children. However, access to such policies is not evenly spread across the workforce, and even when available, take-up is low.

This symposium brings together some recent Australian research to show critical perspectives on fathers at work, with a view to understanding barriers to fathers using family-friendly work arrangements, and the consequences this has for their own wellbeing and that of their families. Ultimately, this research identifies how fathers may be better supported by the government, their workplaces and their families, to balance their work with their family responsibilities. The symposium will conclude with a viewing of a documentary that showcases the value of parental leave and flexible work from the perspective of fathers.