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New coalition challenges employers to offer flexible working

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A new coalition of organisations is challenging employers to unlock the potential of family friendly policies for their employees and their bottom line.

The Parents’ and Carers’ Coalition, co-ordinated by the EOC, has set out the case for more action to support parents, carers and paid care workers and is calling on all the political parties to make this a key election issue. In particular, it is calling for action to address points on its agenda for change including:

  • More access to flexible working for all parents and carers in all types of job
  • Reducing long hours at work, to ease the pressure on workers and increase real productivity
  • Better access to good quality, affordable childcare
  • Better support services for carers and for older and disabled people
  • Better pay, training and prospects for childcare and other care workers
  • A better framework of employment rights for parents and carers
  • A pensions framework that does not penalise people for the time they spend caring.

A telephone survey carried out for the EOC revealed that 68% of all adults, 79% of parents and 74% of carers say the way they vote is likely to be influenced by what the political parties intend to do to make life easier for parents and carers.

  • 83% of people surveyed supported the introduction of a right to ask their employer for changes to their working pattern so that they can balance work and caring better, whether caring for a child, elderly or disabled relative or friend.

  • 78% of adults agreed there should be affordable childcare schemes for all school age children during school holidays.

  • More than seven out of 10 adults agreed that the Government should help with childcare costs for parents who work and that they should also provide money to help parents spend more time at home during a child’s first year. Parents in the UK contribute on average 75% of the cost of a nursery place, compared to an average 30% contribution by parents elsewhere in Europe.

An earlier survey revealed that almost four in ten mothers, more than one in ten fathers and nearly one in five carers have had to give up or turn down a job because of their childcare or other caring responsibilities.

The RAC has seen productivity increase by 8% by allowing staff to work their annual hours flexibly

HSBC bank has almost trebled the number of women coming back to their jobs after having babies, saving millions of pounds

Happy Computers, a small IT training company, is twice as good as its competitors at keeping staff because of flexible working

Julie Mellor, Chair of the EOC, said: “As some employers have already discovered, they also have much to gain from using flexible working to meet the growing demand for facilities and services 24 hours a day, as well as meeting their employees’ needs.”

“Increasing flexibility will also help them retain staff with the skills they need for success. Too many parents and carers still have to give up work or turn down job opportunities because it is impossible for them to combine work and caring responsibilities,” she added.

For futher details, see the document setting out the case for change, Supporting Parents and Carers: Unlocking the Potential

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