Timewise Accreditation scheme will provide funding to 10 Local Authorities to help find jobs for people who need to balance work and family.

£75,000 will be made available to the Women’s Returners Scheme run by Timewise. The pilot scheme aims to encourage private sector companies to re-evaluate how their jobs are designed, particularly senior roles, for part-time, job sharing or flexible working.

Women are more likely to work part-time and on a flexible basis than men, with much of the work only being available in low skilled and low paid positions. Evidence suggests that women in these positions are “working below their potential” and are not utilising their skills as much as they could.

Minister for Women and Equalities, Jo Swinson said:

“It is vital that we remove the barriers for women to return to work. That is why we have extended the right to request flexible working to all employees, introduced shared parental leave and expanded free childcare.”

A history of women working part time has been a significant factor in the gender pay gap over the years.

A current pilot running in Camden since 2014 has seen the number of quality part time jobs offered to applicants double and more than 500 women given access to advice on building careers around family life. This has impacted on flexible working within the council, with 71 percent of staff feeling able to work flexibly without a negative impact.

Swinson adds:

“I am delighted that this scheme is proving successful; I hope that the new schemes offer even more women the opportunity to balance work with their family.”

Timewise has worked with the council to analyse their flexible working options and is working to increase this number further. The change has seen Camden council now advertise every vacancy as ‘open to flexibility’ and managers are being trained to improve how they work with flexible staff. The website, ‘Women like Us Camden’ provides advice and support about returning to work and currently has over 1000 members.

Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council said:

“We are already seeing value back from the work we undertook to become a Timewise Council. Not only does being more ‘Timewise’ help us recruit and retain key talent as an employer, it helps us deliver services more effectively and tackle key social challenges faced in the borough.”