Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

Why Employers Favor Dads Asking for Flexibility

ARCHIVES
Dubova/Shutterstock.com

Introducing…the “fatherhood bonus.”

New research shows working dads receive an advantage over working moms when they request flexible hours to care for their kids. Christin L. Munsch, a Furman University sociology professor, coined the term in her new research paper presented at the American Sociological Association’s conference this week.

Dads were more likely than Moms to be granted a work from home request, and they also were deemed to be more likable, Munsch reports in Flexible Work, Flexible Penalties: The Effect of Gender, Childcare and Type of Request on the Flexibility Bias.

Some 69.7% of dads would be likely to be approved for their request, compared to 56.7% of moms. The figures are based on the evaluation of 646 US residents who read a transcript of a conversation between an HR person and a worker who was seeking schedule changes or work from home.

What’s the reason for this gender divide?  “People draw on cultural beliefs about gender to help define flexwork and evaluate flexworkers,” Munsch writes, continuing:

“Not only did I find evidence of a fatherhood bonus, I also found that men who made flexplace requests for childcare reasons were perceived as more respectable, likeable, committed, and worthy of a promotion than women who made the same request. Again, this suggests that cultural notations of parenting influence how flextime requests are perceived.”

Munsch’s research also found that workers with children are more likely to be granted flexible work arrangements than those who ask for other reasons. She notes  flexible work decisions are “inherently subjective” because they decided case-by-case by supervisors. Men who work full-time while caring for their children may receive what professor Kenneth Kolb called the“progressive merit badge” while women still largely face the “motherhood penalty.”

So this report gives parents some encouraging news and a mess to sort out too. It may make  it more likely that dads – like millions of working mothers – may master the diaper change during a conference call moves. But it could help foster a new gender gap as the Washington Post writer put it: “What if flexible work makes men look good and continues to hold women back?”

(Image via Dubova/Shutterstock.com)

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.