Letter: Time to be Dad

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The Independent Online
"The Dad whose hand rocks the cradle keeps his family together" (2 February) was a welcome acknowledgment that parenting is the responsibility of both mothers and fathers.

Recent research has suggested that it is fathers who work long hours, rather than working mothers, that are the greatest risk to the family. British men work the longest hours in the EU and, unlike most European countries, there is no statutory paternity provision here. Yet with more women returning to work after maternity leave, the sharing of parenting has never been more essential. And fathers, as surveys show, want to play a more active parenting role.

Enlightened companies are introducing a few days paternity leave on a voluntary basis. But why should fathers have to rely on the goodwill of employers? Statutory provision for parental leave is urgently needed to allow all fathers the chance to spend more time with their children.

Sarah Jackson

Parents at Work