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The BBC's Stephen Evans
"The decision makes it easier for fathers to work part-time"
 real 28k

Claire Hockney, Equal Opportunities Commission
"It sets an important general principle that men and women can work part-time"
 real 28k

Thursday, 20 April, 2000, 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK
Father wins right to cut hours
The Jones family
Robert Jones with wife Iona and daughter Matilda
The Equal Opportunities Commission has won a landmark case, allowing a father to work part-time so he can look after his child.

The case was brought after the man, Robert Jones, was refused permission to cut his hours.

Campaigners say it could open the door for more men to tell their employers they want to reduce their hours.

Mr Jones, who works for an insurance company, asked his employers to let him work part-time after the birth of his daughter, Matilda.

Discriminated

He wanted to make the change because his wife, a police officer, earned double his salary.

But the company refused to let him cut his hours, and Mr Jones contacted the EOC.

They took the up the case to court, and won on the grounds that women working for the same firm were allowed to work part-time to meet family needs, so the policy discriminated against men.

The EOC has welcomed the outcome of the case, and says it will make it easier for other men to make similar demands to cut their hours of work.


Rob Jones
Mr Jones has won a landmark judgment
New rights introduced in December allow mothers and fathers to have 13 unpaid weeks off work at any time in the first five years of a child's life.

This case, campaigners believe, now establishes that men should also have the right to cut their hours at work to help with childcare arrangements.

The debate over fathers' rights after childbirth has been given new impetus by the pregnancy of Tony Blair's wife, Cherie.

After weeks of debate, the Prime Minister revealed earlier this month he would cut back on his work commitments after the birth, but would not take paternity leave, even though Cherie Blair was known to be in favour of the idea.

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