Fathers Work Less Hours in the UK

August 2, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. prolong [pruh-LAWNG, -LONG] (v.) – to extend or lengthen the time allotted for a task or an event
Example: Additional tasks prolong one’s working hours in the office.

2. drastic [DRAS-tik] (adj.) – very serious or extreme
Example: The drastic decrease in working hours caused the quality of work to fall.

3. average [AV-er-ij, AV-rij] (n.) – the result of the sum of numbers divided by the number of members in the set
Example: The average of 10, 30, 50, and 70 is 40.

4. probability [prob-uh-BIL-i-tee] (n.) – a possibility of something happening
Example: The high probability of closing the company is worrying the employees.

5. assume [uh-SOOM] (v.) – to take or accept a responsibility
Example: Being married means he has to assume the responsibilities of a husband.


Read the text below.
Fathers who used to work longer in the UK are now working fewer hours, according to a recent research.

Married men with dependent children normally prolong their working hours up to 60 hours a week. But results from NatCen Social Research and University of East Anglia’s (UEA) research show that three out of 10 men who live with a wife and children work only about 48 hours a week.

However, the survey shows a drastic change in the fathers’ working hours. From 40% in 2001, the percentage of men who work 48 hours per week went down to 31% in 2011. The percentage of men working for 60 hours or more per week has also decreased from 13% to 10%. In addition, more men with families no longer work at night and on weekends.

On average, full-time working fathers in two-parent households have lessened their working hours from 47 to 45 per week.

The research also reported that more mothers in the UK are now working longer to earn more for the family. Twenty nine percent of the mothers in the survey are now working full-time compared with the 26% ten years ago. Part-time working mothers with full-time working partners are also working more hours per week, from 17.7 to 18.2 hours.

According to Margaret O’Brien, professor of child and family studies at UEA, these changes suggest a higher probability that fathers now spend more time at home and assume a greater role in the family.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think are the advantages of fathers spending more time at home? Please explain your answer.
·         Do you agree that mothers should also work to help earn for the family? Why?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think parents should spend more time with their children?
·         In your opinion, what are the disadvantages of children lacking supervision from parents? Please explain further.


August 2, 2013