Ministers to back do-it-all fathers

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The Independent Online

A new breed of "Do It All Dad", who does eight times as much childcare as 30 years ago, has been identified by government equality advisers.

A new breed of "Do It All Dad", who does eight times as much childcare as 30 years ago, has been identified by government equality advisers.

But he is still prevented from playing a full family role because of outdated 1950s stereotypes about a man's place in the world, according to the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Tomorrow it publishes research which shows that fewer than one-fifth of British fathers take their allocation of paid paternity leave.

Ministers are attempting to introduce more family-friendly policies with the launch this week of plans to increase maternity leave, and allow fathers to share maternity leave with their partners.

But the commission is pushing for financial incentives for men to stay at home and an increase in the two-week statutory paternity leave

The study, by the University of East Anglia, will reveal that only 19 per cent of British men are taking their entitlement because the official payout of £102.80 means that most feel they cannot afford it.

Julie Mellor, chairman of the EOC, said British policies are outdated. "It's now time to focus on 'Do It All Man' as well as the election target of 'Do It All Woman'," she said. "The 'male breadwinner' and 'stay at home woman' stopped being the norm in the 1970s. Yet family policies are still based on this outdated stereotype. Parents want the choice to share paid leave currently available only to mothers so they can decide for themselves how they divide caring and earning the family income."

The proposals include increasing maternity leave from six to nine months, giving new mothers the equivalent of a £1,400 payout.

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