Fathers working less while mothers are increasing their hours

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Fathers who live with their partner and children work longer hours than other men in full-time positions, but their hours have fallen in the past ten years, finds new research.

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The study, published by NatCen Social Research and the University of East Anglia, shows that three in ten fathers in this family set-up work 48 hours or more a week, while one in ten works 60 hours a week.

However, compared to figures ten years ago, fathers are working fewer hours. In 2001, 40 per cent of men worked 48 hours or more per week, while 31 per cent did the same hours in 2011. 

The findings, included in one of three reports published as part of a new study to map modern fatherhood in the UK, also indicates there has been a significant decline in the proportion of fathers working evenings, nights or weekends. 

The percentage of fathers who never work evenings has risen from 33 per cent to 52 per cent, and those who never work evenings from 66 per cent to 76 per cent. Fathers who never work weekends rose from 26 per cent to 45 per cent.

Other findings on mother’s working hours found that those who live with their partner and children are more likely to be in full-time work than they were a decade ago.

Mothers who work part-time and have partners working full-time have also slightly increased their working hours.

According to the research, in most families (31 per cent) one parent works full-time and the other part-time. In 29 per cent of families both parents work full-time. In around one fifth (22 per cent) of families the father is the main breadwinner.

Margaret O’Brien, professor of child and family studies at the University of East Anglia, said, ‘Our research suggests that fathers are spending less time at work and mothers are spending more. There may be a number of reasons for these changes, but the combination of this means that fathers are now more likely to be at home with their children and free to take a greater role in family life.’

Svetlana Speight, research director at NatCen Social Research, said, ‘This new database on modern fatherhood gives a fascinating insight into men’s work and activities with children. As families change and evolve it is clear that fathers’ involvement and responsibilities are extending beyond the financial sphere.’

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