Working Families, in partnership with Bright Horizons, has today published the 2019 Modern Families Index. It’s the most comprehensive survey of how working parents manage the balance between work and family life in the UK and it shows:

  • When it comes to career progression, parents working part-time are penalised in the workplace: they are less than half as likely as their full-time counterparts to be promoted
  • Parents are working too many hours because of poor job design and a culture of presenteeism. Nearly 80% of parents surveyed are working beyond their contracted hours
  • There is an unmet demand for flexible working among parents: 86% of parents surveyed want to work flexibly, but only 49% do

The Right to Request flexible working – a right everyone has – has helped some parents to get the part-time and flexible work pattern they need. But part-time and flexible working remains something that’s often seen as a ‘favour’ to mothers. And it can leave them with limited options to move on, frustrating efforts to close the gender pay gap. To stop this from happening, we need more good-quality part-time and flexible jobs for parents and carers. We are calling for:

  • Employers to use the Happy to Talk Flexible Working strapline and logo and to address workplace cultures that persistently place a higher value on full-time work.
  • The government to consult on its proposal of a duty on employers to think through whether a job can be done part-time or flexibly and, if it can be, to advertise it as such.

These steps will mean more choice and opportunity for parents – mothers and fathers – in the labour market, and a step toward more widespread, embedded and gender-neutral flexible working.