Election 2010: Charity calls for more family-friendly workplaces 2

While the political parties lay out their manifestos for the coming general election, a leading family charity has published its demands for fairer workplaces, which it hopes any new Government would seriously consider.

Working Families, which has already raised awareness of paternity leave issues and has called for an end to maternity and paternity division, is seeking assurances from whoever makes up the Government next month to put the rights of families at the top of the workplace agenda.

Calls for change include:

  • extending the Right to Request for flexible working to all workers
  • offering jobs on flexible or part-time basis except where there are sound business reasons against
  • fathers/partners, including those self-employed and adopters, having paternity leave entitlement and right to extended leave
  • introduction of flexible, paid parental leave, plus equivalent for carers
  • flexible and affordable childcare that reflects flexible work patterns
  • tax credits and contribution to childcare costs to be paid at 100% not 80%

Sarah Jackson, Chief Executive of Working Families, said, “Many of our demands are cost neutral or could even save money. Extending the Right to Request flexible working to all employees is a simple step forward that could have a profound impact on the UK’s working culture.

“For the sake of the UK’s economy we need to use the talents of all our employees. Workplace flexibility, as President Obama noted last week, affects the strength of the economy, the success of businesses and the wellbeing of families.

“More family-shaped jobs means more parents in work, and a chance for the next government to make progress in closing the gender pay gap and addressing child poverty.

“The next five years need to see a great leap forward for fathers. Today’s leave arrangements for parents mean loaded choices for families, and too often result in poor outcomes for women in terms of discrimination and sidelining at work. Men are missing out on valuable family time. Government leadership, as well as improved rights for fathers, is needed.

“And we need a real commitment to make life easier for parents struggling with childcare, particularly in holiday times. Today’s climate is uncertain for parents and they need a simple and responsive tax and benefits system that reflects frequent changes in their hours of work and childcare arrangements.”

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