Working Parents Express Concerns About The ‘Setback’ of Family Life
Research from Working Families reveals how parents fear juggling their jobs with childcare and other responsibilities when restrictions are lifted.
A new briefing for Working Families’ #FlexTheUK campaign, with the Wates group, shows the concern of many parents about a setback to less flexible work and a desire to keep the positive changes the pandemic has brought to their family lives .
It is based on responses to an online You Gov survey conducted between May 20 and 23 among 1,043 parents of children aged 18 and under, of whom 839 were job during the pandemic
Jane van Zyl, CEO of Working Families, said: ‘This survey sends a strong message to employers that if they are to reach a more diverse talent pool, including among the 13 million working parents in the UK today’ hui, they have to build work in jobs early on.
“We ask managers to focus on the quality of the work delivered, not on rigid schedules and workplaces. As we work together to uncover our ‘new normal’, one thing is very clear: reverting to old rigid ways of working would not only be a blow to many parents, it would make extremely bad business sense. “
Experiences of working parents facing the pandemic
The YouGov poll highlights how mixed experiences of working parents have been over more than 14 months of restrictions and lockdowns.
While most working parents felt supported by their employer in managing their childcare arrangements (for example by changing their work habits to manage home schooling and family responsibilities), one in five working parents (19 percent) say they did not get support from their employer to deal with the challenges of parenting during the pandemic.
After going through a year of disruption and changes in work and family life, it is clear that many parents are keen to keep the positives that came out of the pandemic as the final restrictions are lifted.
Half of the parents surveyed fear that a return to less flexible working patterns after the lifting of permanent restrictions will have a negative effect on family life – with slightly more women than men expressing concern (53 for one hundred versus 47 percent).
The results also showed that middle-class parents were much more likely to have the opportunity to work flexibly and report the benefits to family life. In contrast, working-class parents were less likely to have access to flexible work arrangements and, even when they did, were less positive about its impact on family life.
Charmaine, a working parent, said: “During the pandemic my husband started working from home for the first time. It meant he could spend more time with our daughter and help me more around the house. I returned to work after maternity leave and was also asked to work from home. It made it much easier for us to manage home and family life as we both have long commutes to and from work. We are concerned that as life returns to normal, we will be asked to return to the office, which would make managing family life more difficult. We believe it would have a negative impact on us and our daughter.
The report asks:
- Employers should design and advertise jobs as flexible, and actively encourage flexible working as a way to support working parents and improve their well-being.
- The government will present its new jobs bill in 2022 and include a requirement for employers to make jobs flexible, unless there is a business justification for not doing so; and take action against precarious employment practices.
The imminent end of the leave scheme is also worrying a very large minority of parents, according to the research.
For parents who have worked throughout the pandemic, 29% fear their family responsibilities will put them at a higher risk of dismissal once the leave is over. This concern is even more pronounced among women (34%) and working class parents (35%).
Working Families said the findings underscore how precarious work is for many parents, showing the urgent need to put in place more dismissal protections, especially for pregnant women and new parents.
Ms van Zyl said: ‘We are seeing, both through this survey and the calls to our free legal advice service, a very real concern that parents who have had family responsibilities during the pandemic will be the most vulnerable to the disease. dismissal at the end of the leave scheme. It highlights the precarious nature of work for many parents and the need for better layoff protections for people with family responsibilities. ‘
Parents overwhelmingly want the government to step in to create more flexible jobs (77 percent) and employers to use their own initiative to do so (84 percent), according to the findings.
A clear majority say that they would be more likely to apply for a job advertised as flexible than a job which is not in the future (69%).
Ms van Zyl added: “Working parents have had a particularly difficult time during the pandemic – juggling the demands of working with childcare and home schooling.
“Our new survey shows that as we move out of these final restrictions, anxiety is not over yet for many working parents. The lifting of the last restrictions on our daily lives is of course extremely welcome in many ways, but this new research shows how essential it is for employers to manage this transition with sensitivity, to make the well-being of their staff teams a priority. priority and help working parents keep the gains in family life they saw during the pandemic.
David Allen, Managing Director of Wates Group, campaign partner for #FlexTheUK, said: “As a family business, Wates is committed to doing everything in its power to help colleagues balance their parenting obligations or family with work. This is why we were so keen to participate in the #FlextheUK campaign. In our recent employee survey, 40 percent of respondents identified themselves as parents or with family responsibilities. They told us overwhelmingly that they wanted the flexibility to manage where and when they worked.
“We have listened and responded by producing a set of flexible working principles. They combine some of the positive adaptations we’ve made over the past 15 months and the good habits that have allowed us to collaborate and perform so well in the past.
“We encourage our colleagues across the company to use the coming months to experiment with different working models: to find what works for them; to show us what they want their professional life to be in the future; and to use these new flexibilities to allow our teams to give the best of themselves. ‘