Whilst society is transcending traditional gender roles, with childcare leaning towards a more flexible and shared caring model, workplaces aren’t moving in tandem with modern attitudes.
Often, women are considered the primary caregiver, whilst fathers face a penalty for wanting to take a more active role when it comes to childcare or are subject to company policies, resembling ‘1950s’ social attitudes.
Such was the case for Derek Rotondo, a fraud investigator at JPMorgan Chase & Company, who is filing a sex discrimination complaint against the firm after he discovered his employer only provided him with two weeks of parental leave while ‘primary caregivers’ were eligible for 16 weeks.
Rotondo's complaint, filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with the help of the ACLU and employment law firm Outten & Golden, seeks change to the company's policy, which he described as "something out of the 1950's” - NBC News reports.
“Just because I’m a father, not a mother, it shouldn’t prevent me from being the primary caregiver for my baby," Rotondo said in a statement. "I hope that JPMorgan will change this policy and show its support for all parents who work for the company."
The EEOC complaint alleges JPMorgan Chase discriminates against fathers due to sex stereotypes. Not only are they offered less leave, but they are only allowed to be considered primary caregivers if they can prove their spouse or domestic partner “has returned to work... [or] is medically incapable of any care of the child.”
Galen Sherwin, Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project said: "JPMorgan’s parental leave policy is outdated and discriminates against both moms and dads by reinforcing the stereotype that raising children is women’s work, and that men’s work is to be the breadwinner."
According to the UK Government website, men could be eligible to one or two weeks paid Paternity Leave or Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP). If both parents are eligible for either SPL and ShPP, they can share a pot of leave for one year following the birth or adoption.
However, Maria Miller, Chairwoman of the Commons Women and Equalities Committee believes that whilst supporting parents in the workplace is a priority for the Government, "it admits that its flagship Shared Parental Leave policy is likely to have a very low take-up rate”.
A recent study by Modern Families found that a fifth of fathers believed their employer expected no disruption to work when it came to childcare, while 44% admitted lying to their employer about family-related responsibilities that ‘get in the way’ of work.