Policy News for Working Parents: October 2018

Policy News for Working Parents: October 2018

This year’s Top Employers for Working Families’ Benchmark findings were unveiled during National Work Life Week last week – and the findings should offer a huge boost to parents working part time and flexibly.  Capturing the experience of 630,000 employees across some of the UK’s leading public, private, and third sector organisations, the Benchmark has identified that the percentage of top performance ratings for part-time and reduced-hours workers at Working Families member companies is higher than the percentage of top performance ratings across all staff: at 34% vs. 14%.  For us, this is evidence that – with the right support and organisational commitment – employers can and do get the most out of their part-time and reduced-hours workers.  

Our members are working to ensure flexibility from the start by allowing employees to make a flexible working request from day one.Over two-thirds go beyond legislative requirements and offer their employees the right to request flexible working from their first day of employment.  This is particularly crucial for parents of disabled children, as revealed by our Off Balance report in the summer.  Their need for flexibility is so acute that the 26-week qualifying period before they have the right to request a flexible working pattern is impossible for them to complete.  

All Cityparents will know that the demand of part-time and flexible jobs (well, good quality and permanent ones anyway) far outstrips supply.  The latest figures show that just over 11% of all jobs where the salary is 20K or above (FTE) are advertised flexibly – and demand is at 87%. What’s fantastic is that Working Families member companies are ahead of the curve - more than a third of the organisations routinely state the opportunities for flexibility in their job adverts. 

Working Families is part of the flexible working taskforce, which aims to promote flexible working.  It has been focusing on how to promote the Happy to Talk Flexible Working strapline and logo amongst employers, which four out of five Working Families members that took part in the Benchmark are using in their recruitment adverts.  We’re hoping we can say more about this later in the autumn, so watch this space. 

At Working Families HQ, we’ve been heartened by how seriously the government take flexible working.  We believe it does recognise the benefits to families – and to businesses – that it can bring.  We were delighted the Business Secretary announced last Monday that the government is considering a duty on employers to explore the different ways jobs can be done and, where possible, advertise them flexibly.  

We believe a flexible by default approach to recruitment in the labour market would revolutionise it – opening it up for working parents and allowing them to reach their potential at home and at work.  We want to help shape the UK’s next steps on flexible working, whether they be voluntary or legislative.  With the taskforce in play, the evaluation of the Right to Request legislation the government has committed to carrying out next year and bearing in mind the Minister’s recent announcement, there is everything to play for. 

Did your organisation make it into the Top Employers for Working Families Top 10 or Top 30?  Find out here.   

Want your organisation to take part in our Benchmark next year?  Or to get them using Happy to Talk?  Put your HR team in contact with us: employers@workingfamilies.org.uk  


Working Families is the UK’s leading work-life balance organisation. The charity helps working parents and carers and their employers find a better balance between responsibilities at home and work.



Released On 4th Oct 2018

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