UK not such a family friendly place

Britain is lagging behind many other developed counties in terms of fairness for families, says report

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In the first international index of fairness for families the UK has been ranked fourth… from the bottom! On the league table of 21 countries, the UK took the 18th spot. Last place went to Switzerland, and the nation topping the family-fairness table was Sweden, reports the Telegraph.

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The UK’s Fatherhood Institute, a think-tank for family policy, produced the index and report. It found dads here get less paternity leave and mums’ pay and career chances are worse than in many other nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). For couples, women still do nearly twice as much housework and childcare as men.

In terms of generosity of paternity leave (one of the key measures), Britain ranks 14th, with UK dads only getting two fully paid days off. To put this in perspective, Sweden boasts 40 weeks. This in turn affects mums’ careers – mums are more likely to be the stay-at-home parent because of their greater leave entitlement and women’s lower pay rates. This also impacts on mums’ chances of getting promotions and pay rises. Flexible working opportunities for men also got a poor score.

“Parents’ choices are restricted by an outdated distinction between fathers as breadwinners and mothers as home-makers. There is clearly a long way to go if we are to become ‘the most family-friendly country in Europe’ as the Coalition has pledged,” said the Fatherhood Institute’s chief executive, Rob Williams.

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How fair do you think the UK is? What would you like to see changed?

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