Search Results for: childcare

Unions and employers call for greater uptake of flexible working

Flexible WorkingThe release of two new sets of employment data has prompted the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) to issue separate rallying calls for the greater uptake of flexible working. Responding to a YouGov survey, which found that over two-fifths (42 percent) of UK workers would not feel comfortable asking their employer for more flexible working practices, the CBI called on firms to encourage and respond positively to such requests in both their own interests and those of employees. Meanwhile, the TUC used the publication of new figures from the Office for National Statistics, which showed that under-employment remains at pre-recession levels and there remains a shortfall in the number of full-time job opportunities, to suggest that part of the solution to both problems lies in the promotion of flexible working rights.

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Employers unprepared for employee take-up of new flexible work rights

Employers unprepared for new flexible working rightsThe new Shared Parental Leave legislation comes into force next week (1 December), but according to a new report, employers are unprepared for the changes. The Workforce View 2014/15 – an annual barometer of the views and attitudes of UK workers and employers by ADP,  also indicates that employers have underestimated the likely level of interest amongst employees. More than one in five (21 per cent) HR Directors admitted they are not ready for the requirements of the legislation, while 70 per cent say they predict little or no interest from employees in the first 12 months. Yet when employees were asked their views, a third (33 per cent) of 16- to 34-year-olds said they anticipate taking advantage of it within the next five years. Shared parental leave is a new right that will enable eligible mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to choose how to share time off work after their child is born or placed. It will be an option for parents with a child due to be born on or after 5 April 2015. More →

Gender pay gap at lowest point in history, reports ONS

800px-Mind_the_gap_2 (1)The gender pay gap is now at its lowest point in history, with more women in work than ever before. According to new statistics by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the pay gap has reduced by 0.7 percentage points over the past year to 19.1 per cent, and for those in full-time work the gender pay gap has reduced to almost zero for those under 40. Action is being taken to tackle one of the reasons for the pay gap – career breaks, often to raise a family by extending flexible working to all employees, and from next year, tax-free childcare and shared parental leave will come into effect. However, one of the main causes of the gender pay gap is that men tend to work in better paid sectors to women so a range of measures are being introduced to help women move from low-paid, low-skilled work into higher paid, higher skilled work. This includes a new £2 million training and mentoring programme of events for women, including those working part-time and older workers, to be carried out by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. This will target women working in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), retail and hospitality management and agricultural sectors.

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Half of women would consider remaining childless rather than risk career

half of women would consider remaining childless for their careersThe expansion of flexible working rights was not only intended to improve workplace wellbeing and productivity, but encourage mothers to remain in the workforce. But it seems there is much work to be done to convince women that work and motherhood can mix. New research from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) has found that half of women believe that having a baby poses such a risk to their career that they would consider remaining childless. The survey among women of childbearing age also found that two-thirds of women (67%) are concerned about the impact that having children might have on their career and half of the women who don’t currently have children (49%) feel their current career doesn’t offer them the flexibility they would need to care for a family. Over half of mothers (55%) admitted that balancing childcare and work has been a barrier to staying in work, with one in five (20%) stating that a lack of support from their employer has made life as a working mum more difficult. More →

UK’s men and women have significantly different attitudes toward flexible working

Attitudes to flexible workingAs we have seen, the implementation of new flexible working legislation in the UK at the end of June has already shone a spotlight into some intriguing corners of the nation’s workplace. The latest revelation, according to a new survey from recruitment firm Kelly Services, is that men and women have markedly different attitudes towards the idea. While just over half (51 percent)of the UK’s female workers believe that the chance of flexible working would make an organisation a more attractive employer, just over a third of their male counterparts (36 percent) feel the same way. Similarly, a fifth of women surveyed (20  percent) would consider moving job in search of flexible working arrangements compared 15 percent of men and nearly two thirds of women (62 percent) believe  their ideal working environment would include flexible working arrangements compared to under half of men (49 percent).

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Attitudes towards flexible working still at odds with needs of modern life, claims report

Flexible working fatherThere is still a stigma attached to flexible working and employers are still reluctant to offer it to staff, according to a survey of UK employees carried out by parenting website Netmums and charity the Family and Childcare Trust. According to a third of just under 1,800 respondents, there remains a degree of resentment from work colleagues towards those who  enjoy some form of flexible working. And, while, 80 percent of people think it is very important that employers offer flexible working to staff , a mere 15 percent feel it is offered in practice and another 20 percent have no idea whether it is available to them or not. The result is a mismatch between the desires and expectations of individuals and the reality of working life with the upshot that nearly a third (29 percent) of respondents claim to have left a job because they were unable to balance it with other aspects of their lives.

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Queen’s Speech was light on employment legislation, but don’t forget flexible work changes

Queen's Speech light on legislation, with flexible working biggest change aheadThis year’s Queen’s Speech was the last before the 2015 general election and included a relatively light legislative programme of just 11 new bills. Some of the key employment changes being proposed include changes to childcare, the national minimum wage, and zero-hours contracts. But in fact a key development which was not included in the Queen’s Speech, and yet could have the most pronounced effect on employers is the extension of the right to request flexible working. From 30 June 2014, employees with at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment will be able to make a request for flexible working for any reason under the new statutory scheme. The procedure to be followed will be far less prescriptive than that currently in force and will place more onuson the employer to consider the request and any alternatives to the proposed request. More →

Flexible working mothers often resented by colleagues and worry about career

TightropeWorking women who are offered flexibility to help them balance their jobs and childcare are often resented by their colleagues, according to a new report from  campaign group Opportunity Now. The survey of 25,000 working women aged between 28 and 40 found that two thirds of those surveyed believe they are expected to work longer hours than mothers. Conversely, working mothers are often perceived by their colleagues as less committed according to around half of respondents and there was a general feeling across all those surveyed that flexible working can be detrimental to careers. The report is the latest which highlights the problems many people encounter in working flexibly as a way of achieving a work-life balance.

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After the deluge: wading through the floods of employment issues

The Deluge by John MartinThe recent downpours have resulted in the flooding of many businesses. At the same time, employees are struggling to get into work due to their own homes being flooded or the closure of transport links. The problems which arise due to the closure of the workplace are rather different from the challenges of dealing with employees who can’t get to work, but both should be handled carefully.  Where the business itself has closed due to adverse weather an employer can ask its employees to work from home or, if alternative premises are available employees may be asked to transfer to the different premises until their place of work is restored. Where the employer has an express clause in the contracts of employment entitling it to make such requests, the employer can insist on the employee’s co-operation. More →

Why do we bother going to work? Good question.

CommutingWhile the UK Government continues to explore new ways of getting people back to work more quickly following (or even during) illness, there are a number of counterpart questions that they continue to fastidiously ignore, one of which is ‘why bother?’. We might all ask ourselves that from time to time, whether petulantly or as a pressure-relieving alternative to ramming a co-worker’s head through a window or a laptop in a dumpster. But there are also reasons to raise the question coldly, rationally and with full awareness of all the facts, not least when it comes to assessing the increasing cost of going to work in the first place. Put simply, for many people it makes little or no financial sense to go to work.

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New data suggests parents are frustrated at lack of flexible working

No entryFollowing last week’s revelation that the planned extension of Flexible Working Rights to all UK employees would be delayed beyond the proposed implementation date in April, new statistics released by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and a new report from the Working Families charity have revealed some of the disparities that exist in flexible working arrangements across the country. The Working Families survey of a little over 1,000 adults with dependent children, found that almost a third claim there are no flexible arrangements on offer where they work, leading many to feel resentful against their employers, with young fathers twice as likely to strongly resent the lack of flexible working affects their lives.

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Zero hours contracts: Are they really such bad news?

Zero hours contracts

Zero hours contracts have hardly been out of the news in recent weeks. The overwhelming majority of the media coverage has been negative, suggesting that zero hours contracts are exploitative of workers and should be outlawed. The pressure gauge has risen to such an extent that, in September, the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, announced that there would be a consultation process to tackle any abuse discovered. The Labour Party has also announced it will be conducting its own review. But why all this sudden interest? Zero hours contracts are not a new phenomenon… and, on the face of it, they provide employers with the type of flexibility which the Government has been so keen to introduce, allowing employers to maintain a flexible workforce capable of meeting short-term staffing needs.  More →

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