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    5 Feb 2016

    Men are twice as likely as women to have requests for flexible work hours rejected, a new report has found.

    Men are twice as likely as women to have requests for flexible work hours rejected, a new report has found.
    The study into the power of flexibility at work from business consulting firm Bain and Co said around 60 per cent of men wanted flexible working hours, but there was a lack of senior support.
    Male respondents interviewed suggested management frowned upon men asking for flexible arrangements.
    Researchers cited one incident where a man was told by his manager that "part-time is traditionally only something we make work for women".
    Another said: "My boss told me I wouldn't be able to get promoted working part-time."
    The findings were supported by research from the Australian Human Rights Commission in 2014, which found 27 per cent of fathers reported experiencing discrimination related to parental leave and returning to work, compared to 49 per cent of women.
    Meredith Hellicar, one of the authors of the Bain and Co report, told Radio National there was still a cultural barrier for companies when it came to providing flexible workplaces.
    "[Men] are experiencing similar forms of discrimination and prejudice that women experienced 10 or 15 years ago," she said.
    She said companies needed to work harder to make flexible working the norm.
    "Of course millennials are increasingly demanding it and businesses [are] wanting it ... but we are going to have to wait," she said.
    "There's a cultural barrier in its take up and we're going to have to wait longer for men to get the positive result from working flexibly."
    The study had 1,030 respondents, of which 58 per cent were female and 42 per cent were male.

    Different practices rooted in gender stereotypes: researcher

    Jesse Olsen from the University of Melbourne's Centre for Workplace Leadership said many workplaces still promoted traditional gender rolls.
    "In our society we have these traditional views about roles where a woman is a caretaker and much more likely to be a homemaker...and where a man is more likely to be a breadwinner and go to work full-time," he said.
    "That's kind of ingrained in us from a long time ago and we're trying to change that, but it's very hard to change assumptions and values and those things can impact us subconsciously."
    Dr Olsen said even when men did have requests for flexible work hours approved, they could face discrimination after the arrangements were put in place.
    "You could have a verbal OK or something like that from a boss or from co-workers, but we don't really know or we suspect that a lot of people are still hanging on to traditional norms," he said.
    "Even though [employees] may have an arrangement in place, you might find they're not evaluated as well, they're not considered for promotions as often as co-workers who might be working more traditionally.

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