Every employer should champion flexible working says minister

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Government yesterday called on employers to do more to promote flexible working, as it published its response to the Family Friendly Taskforce report.

Taking forward the taskforce’s recommendations, Ministers will promote flexible working across the public sector and new Cabinet Office guidance will mean that there will be a presumption that all jobs should be advertised as available for flexible or part-time working unless there is a good business case why this isn’t possible. Yvette Cooper also announced that Government will appoint a taskforce of business leaders and business organisations to champion the case for flexible working in the private sector.

To help encourage more businesses to offer flexible jobs next year, Jobcentre Plus will implement computer changes which will mean every time a new vacancy comes into a Jobcentre – the employer will be automatically asked if it can be part time, job share or flexible.

Recognising that employers need more help to realise the benefits of flexible working to their business, Yvette Cooper pledged that Government would offer more support and that her own Department for Work and Pensions would lead the way in making job vacancies available on a part time and flexible basis.

Yvette Cooper, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said:

“Many parents can feel torn between working and being able to spend enough time with their children. Helping people into jobs, which also meet the needs of their family, is a really important way to tackle poverty and help parents build a better life for their children.

“There aren’t enough quality part-time or flexible jobs available to parents at the moment and I am determined that, starting with my own Department, Government works with business so that we can make sure there are enough opportunities out there for parents who want to work.”

Ministers believe that increasing the availability of quality flexible and part-time jobs will be crucial for the recovery as it will stimulate more jobs, help parents off benefits and will give them the opportunity to work, continue their careers and balance the needs of their family too.

The Government has also published Think Fathers: How flexible working for Dads can work for your business, a collection of case studies of how businesses large and small across many different sectors have implemented flexible working and reaped the benefits. It provides some top tips to employers on how they can do the same in their own businesses.

Children & Families Minister Dawn Primarolo said:

“We want to do all we can to help parents find employment and stay employed. Research tells us this remains the best route out of poverty for families, but for families to be able to do this; we need business to play their part. Family friendly working practice should be at the heart of every organisation. My own department is committed to flexible working and has really seen the benefits of supporting those with caring responsibilities in their careers.

“We know that fathers can find it particularly difficult to juggle the responsibilities of work and family. We are publishing the Think Fathers guide to highlight to business and industry the benefits of incorporating flexible family-friendly policies into their company. The guide was created by business for business and I hope companies use it to inform and even revise their employment policies and to make it easier for mums and dads to strike the right balance between work and family life.”

Business Minister Pat McFadden said:

“The right to request flexible working has been a real success. As we consider the future we should make sure it continues to work well for both employees and employers”.

Maria Eagle, Deputy Minister for Women and Equality, said:

“Families are the framework of our lives and matter not just to individuals but to our communities, the economy, and society as a whole. Mothers often tear their hair out trying to balance earning a living with bringing up their children and need more flexibility at work and fathers want to be able to play a bigger part in bringing up their children. We will continue to work with business to ensure that parents continue to have real choices about how they live their lives, at the same time as making the economy strong and competitive.”

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions established the Taskforce to bring together a range of experts from business, organisations that represent businesses, employees and families, non-government bodies and government departments to provide an expert perspective on flexible working practices.

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