This study uses Australian survey data to explore whether caring for children and young people with disabilities affects paid employment participation of fathers who identify as the secondary caregiver. More fathers in the study were in full-time employment than those in the general Australian population, but they worked fewer hours, often in jobs they did not enjoy or roles with less responsibility. Over one third of fathers reported that caring had impacted on their job opportunities or career progression, particularly those whose children had more severe disabilities. The financial costs of raising a child with disabilities and their caring obligations informed many of the decisions fathers made in relation to employment. Fixed hours of work, lack of understanding from their employer, an income tied to hours worked and staff resources were cited as reasons why almost half of the fathers felt they were unable to access flexible working conditions to assist with their child’s care. Self-employment was seen by many fathers as desirable, but the perceived increase in flexibility may be accompanied by an increase in work hours. Implications for paternal well-being are discussed, along with the lifelong implications of caring on employment and financial security for families in the Australian context.
- work participation