Downturn cuts into fathers' family life

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 June, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 June, 2002, 12:00am

The economic downturn has harmed the relationship between fathers and their children, two surveys released yesterday indicate.

Sixty-two per cent of 540 fathers interviewed by the Democratic Party said there had been lay-offs or pay cuts at their workplace recently.

Sixty-nine per cent said they worked overtime because they feared they might not meet their employers' expectations, resulting in less time to spend with their children.

Seventy per cent said they would not take a day off work even if an emergency involving their children arose, while a quarter said their relationship with their children had deteriorated due to pressure at work.

A party spokesman called on employers to be more considerate by allowing their staff to take leave or work flexible hours in case of emergencies at home.

The party also appealed for a law to allow fathers-to-be to enjoy paid maternity leave.

Another survey of 595 fathers of children aged under six by Baby magazine found that 26.7 per cent did not have time to play with their children every day. A total of 41.2 per cent could only play with their children on two days of the week, while four per cent said they could not afford even one day to do so.

Only 11.6 per cent said they could spend time with their children whenever their offspring asked them to. The magazine said it would be difficult to build a close father-and-child relationship if SAR men continued to be over-worked and sacrificed their family time. The findings showed most young children wanted a hug from their fathers.

Meanwhile, 10 representatives from the Neighbourhood and Workers' Service Centre presented a petition to the Government yesterday.

The group said the working environment today was not conducive to a happy family life. It asked the Government to improve job opportunities, set a minimum wage and limit working time to eight hours a day.