Czech fathers increasingly spending more time with their children, survey shows

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The Input of Czech fathers in the upbringing of their children has risen over the past 10 years, with 70 percent saying they now have enough time to spend with their offspring, according to a newly released survey conducted by the Nielsen Admosphere agency in April. The data shows that most fathers would welcome an expansion of the current paternity leave system and that many are changing their views on historic gender-roles in the family unit.

Photo: Steve Buissinne, Pixabay / CC0

The traditional role of fathers as the main breadwinners in the family is still widespread, but has slightly decreased over the past years.

This is indicated by the fact that within a space of ten years, the number of fathers who put their career ahead of spending time with their families has gone down to just 17 percent. Meanwhile, the idea of what a father should do with their children during free time has expanded from just entertainment, to practical matters as well, previously seen as exclusively the domain of mothers.

The data is the result of a study conducted in April by the Nielsen Admoshpere agency in collaboration with the League of Open Men, a non-profit focused on men’s issues. The fact that both entities conducted very much the same survey 10 years ago, allows for interesting comparisons between current and past data, says Hana Friedlaenderová who is the Senior Research and Insights Manager at Nielsen Admosphere.

Hana Friedlaenderová, photo: ČT24

“The comparisons show that fathers are now more involved in childcare activities such as changing dippers, bathing, preparing for school, or caring for children when they are sick.

“Today, more fathers can imagine staying with their child on paternal leave. The number of fathers who are in favour of a traditional division of labour where the woman takes care of the children and the household and the men earn money has gone down significantly.

“This opinion is still held by more than half of Czech fathers, but it is less that the four fifths who stuck to this view 10 years ago.”

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Nine out of ten respondents also positively evaluated the so-called “otcovská dovolená”, an equivalent of paternity leave which was adopted by the Czech Republic in 2018. The law enables fathers to take seven days off work within the first six weeks since the birth of their child. During this “time-off”, when they can spend time with their children, fathers receive 70 percent of their normal salary.

While survey results suggest this is a popular policy, it seems Czech fathers would like to go even further in this respect, says Ms Friedlaenderová.

“Almost nine out of 10 respondents believe that paternity is a good means of strengthening the relationship between father and child. In this respect, fathers would be primarily interested in financial benefits such as extending the existing paternity leave, or if the funding covered more than 70 percent.”

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It is quite possible that they will get their way, as the Czech Republic is bound to implement a new EU directive that includes a non-transferable parental leave of at least two months by the year 2022.

Even if more time would be preferred, 75 percent of fathers say that their current work-life balance is sufficient enough to spend time with their children.

According to Ms Friedlaenderová this could be a consequence of solid growth in the Czech economy over the past years, where unemployment was low and employees felt less pressure from their employers.