Throughout this week, in recognition of International Women’s Day on 8th March, we are publishing 5 posts based on this year’s theme #PressforProgress for gender parity. This fourth post is focused on pressing for progress for the government to support working parents.
The economic benefits of having improved gender diversity are increasingly understood along with the root causes of the dis-parity. Much has been gained in the advancement of women in the workplace in the UK particularly over the last half century, but there is certainly a long way to go particularly around supporting working parents whilst they progress in their careers. The Women and Equalities Commission, formed in 2015, are having an impact but lasting change requires support and action from the whole of Parliament, local government and business communities.
Here are 5 areas of requests for government to set out a clear vision for creating a more gender balanced workforce and move towards gender parity:
1. Employment Protection
In post-Brexit UK, protect and enhance the rights of part-time workers and those involved in the gig economy.
Celebrate and recognise the contribution that gig workers and part-time workers make to the economy.
Take steps to reduce the “normal” full-time working week.
2. Maternity and Parental leave
Stamp out maternity discrimination by penalising those employers that offend as an example to others.
Simplify maternity rights and benefits.
Equalise shared parental leave entitlements and payments.
Promote best practice support for pregnant employees and new parents.
Educate employers of the impact of miscarriage, fertility and post-natal depression.
Encourage and support shared parenting arrangements throughout all public services.
3. Childcare choices and funding
Improve the provision of funded pre-school childcare.
Support employers to work in conjunction with childcare suppliers and schools to create work that works for working parents.
Ensure the cost of good quality childcare is not the reason why parents choose not to work.
Take steps to normalise career breaks and support parents who choose to be full-time carers.
4. Support career returners
Increase the government’s Returners fund and provide tax breaks for employers who adopt returners’ initiatives.
Recognise the inequalities in pension provision and take action to re-address.
Put support in place for unpaid carers to help them back into the workforce when the time is right.
5. Value parenting
Parenting should not be a work or career inhibitor.
As a nation we should be building a workforce that can also support and enhance the future workforce, through high quality parenting.
We need healthy, secure and competent future generations – this can only be achieved through parents who are supported to both parent and to provide labour and professional input – role modelling for further generations to come.
We call for government to set out the vision for a future that values, supports and protects parents, recognises the pressures of parenting at different stages and creates workable conditions for employers to release parents to take care of their responsibilities.
Introducing gender pay reporting for larger employers has thrown a spotlight on the inequalities within our workforce between men and women. This is a starting point to hold employers to account for taking action to improve the gender pay gap, reduce the gender leadership gap, ending functional gender segregation and move us towards gender parity. Employers that don’t take action and improve their pay gap, should be penalised as well as publicly shamed. We also call for the gender pay reporting to be extended to smaller employers, say those employing 50 + employees to have more of an impact on the wider workforce.
Becoming a parent should be a joyful experience and not impacted by the stress of worrying about work and longer term career prospects. Improving the support provisions for working parents will lead to an overall improvement in productivity, employee engagement and add to the UK’s bottom line.
Career-Mums provides a range of services to help parents to return to work after a career break and to support employers engage better with working parents and impact on closing the gender gap based in the West Midlands. Services include maternity and paternity coaching, training line managers, career development planning, returnship programmes and policy development. We run regular workshops for employers on Developing Women Leaders – here’s the details of the next workshop on 22nd March 2018.
What are you doing to #PressforProgress for government to do more to support working parents?
#CM5in5 for #IWD2018
This week we’re publishing 5 blog posts:
Monday: #PressforProgress for working parents
Tuesday: #PressforProgress for new parents
Wednesday: #PressforProgress for family-friendly employers
Thursday: #PressforProgress from the government
Friday: #PressforProgress from leaders
These can all be found on our website: www.career-mums.co.uk and social media channels.
Career-Mums Partnership helps parents to return to work after a career break and thrive as working parents as well as working with employers to improve gender diversity for the benefit of their business.