What is the situation?
Flexible working practices which include part-time working, compressed hours, job shares and working from home amongst a wide range of measures, are important in allowing women to combine paid work with their caring responsibilities.
Flexible working practices allow women with caring responsibilities to take up jobs more easily. Research has shown that mothers highlight the availability of flexible working as a key reason for being able or not able to work which also lessons the likelihood that women will experience a knock to their position and pay when they have children – a significant factor in the gender pay gap.
Why does it matter?
Women – in particular those with caring responsibilities – are more likely than men to take up measures such as part-time working, and they are also more likely to consider flexible working measures important and necessary to stay in work.
Current changes taking place within the labour market – namely the increasing number of single mothers being required to seek paid work and the increasing competition for quality part-time jobs from workers unable to find full-time employment – mean that it is more important than ever that the promotion of flexible jobs is improved to support women at work.
What do we want to see happen?
Fawcett is campaigning to ensuring that flexible working practices become the norm; that they are integrated into the way that Britain ‘does work’ in order to support more women in the workplace. Fawcett works in partnership with the Working Parents coalition, which includes Working Families (Chair), Maternity Action, TUC, The Fatherhood Institute, Mothers’ Union, Single Parent Action Network, CPAG, 4Children, Family and Parenting Institute, Family Lives, Grandparents Plus, Gingerbread. We campaign collaboratively on workplace rights issues, highlighting the impact of such issues on women’s equality in the workplace.
We would are currently lobbying on the Children and Families Bill which is being debated in parliament and which proposes to extend the right to request flexible working to all employees. To find out more about Fawcett’s position on the proposals, download our parliamentary briefing (hyperlink to briefing).
We want to see the right to request flexible working become a day one employment right as we see the current 26-week qualifying period for requesting a right to flexible working as a barrier to women getting jobs. Fawcett believes that the public sector should lead the way in promoting this change, providing an example of good practice for other sectors to follow. Fawcett wants to see an improvement in the design and promotion of flexible, quality part-time jobs as we see this as an important way of opening up far more jobs to women and allow women to stay in work.
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