Practicality of Family Friendly Rights in the Spotlight
13 October 2017 #Family friendly
Despite UK legislation having a number of family friendly rights, a recent TUC survey of 1,050 young working parents in low paid positions, found many dubious of how useful these rights are.
Over a third felt stigmatised at work for needing flexibility for childcare and 58% felt they knew little or nothing about their legal rights. The situation was worse for young fathers with 48% feeling guilty of mentioning childcare issues at work. An added problem for those in insecure roles was short notice of shifts and non-regular working hours.
Practical reasons for low take up of rights were managers’ perceptions of them for making requests, lack of entitlement due to employment status, the 21 day notice period for parental leave and not being able to afford unpaid time off. 29% of parents surveyed had used annual leave in the last year to look after a sick child. These problems are likely to also strike a chord with older and higher paid working parents.
Although it is doubtful that the Government will implement the TUC’s proposals such as banning zero hours contracts and making parental leave paid, the survey should be a warning to all employers. Besides missing out on the benefits to morale and retention of staff with better work life balances, there is also a potential risk of discrimination claims against firms which refuse or discourage time off for dependants. Also in another survey for Hays, two-thirds of employees felt that working flexibility would hamper their chances of climbing the career ladder.
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