Minister seeks more flexibility for working fathers

12th November 2009, Comments 0 comments

Workplace flexibility for working fathers can only be enforced when society changes its perception, says Youth and Family Minister André Rouvoet.

The Hague – Dutch Youth and Family Minister André Rouvoet, who wants to revamp the Dutch work culture to make it more acceptable for fathers to take time off for their families, will launch a study to better understand the situation.

The research will look into the reasons why working fathers do not apply for leave to spend time with their families and children.

In an interview with Nos TV, the minister said there is a need for a work 'cultural shift' to make sure fathers can spend more time with their families.

Currently in the Netherlands, caring for children is still seen primarily as mothers’ duties while fathers continue to work full time. Rouvoet said it is all too easy for women to work less, while men continued to work full-time.

However the minister said: “The question is whether this meets the wishes of many fathers who want to see their children grow up and of many mothers who want to develop professionally.”

According to the minister, the freedom to work less is often limited by men’s perception they would have reduced chances of promotion if they work part- time.

 “A modern labour market means that families should be able to decide for themselves how they want to combine their professional and private lives,” said the minister.

In a separate report, a thesis on ‘relay parenthood’ published by Professor Melinda Mills at the University of Groningen showed of a different parenting model while fathers spent more time with their children.

About 30 percent take turns to look after their children as the mothers have a part-time job in the weekend while the fathers work full-time. However, a US research shows that this model undermined family life as parents tend to argue and divorce more often. 
Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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