A third of employees feel there is stigma or resentment from work colleagues around flexible working, according to new research by Netmums and the Family and Childcare Trust.
The research has been published to launch Family Friendly UK, a scheme by the Family and Childcare Trust that supports organisations to become more family friendly.
The joint research also revealed that while 80 per cent think it is very important that a potential employer offers flexible working practices when they look for a new job, for 15 per cent of respondents flexible working is not available to anybody at their workplace, and nearly 20 per cent don’t know if flexible working is available.
Worryingly, nearly 29 per cent respondents had also been forced to leave work altogether due to not being able to balance work and family life.
The family charity is concerned that despite new legislation coming in at the end of June, which will extend the existing legal right to ask for flexible working to all employees, flexible working is still viewed as a privilege for a minority rather than a necessity to help all families balance work and caring responsibilities.
Anand Shukla, chief executive of the Family and Childcare Trust said:
Julia McGinley, Director of Parent Support at the UK's main parenting site Netmums said:
Other key findings from the survey include:
- Part-time work was the most common flexible work arrangement available to parents with 79 per cent saying that this was on offer in their current workplace. Only 21 per cent of respondents said that term-time working was an option that was available to them, although this is an arrangement that is popular with many parents.
- Some 35 per cent of respondents said that flexible working was not offer in their current workplace or it was restricted to certain staff.
- Some 32 per cent of respondents said there was a stigma or resentment attached to flexible working in their current workplace.
- The availability of flexible working impacts on parents career pathways. Some 53 per cent of respondents has not pursed promotion due to the conflicting demands of work and family life, 22 per cent had taken a pay cut or demotion, 29 per cent had left a job not to work and 25 per cent had changed their job for a more flexible position elsewhere.
The Family and Childcare Trust is calling on Government to run an information and awareness campaign to make sure parents know about their rights and entitlements at work, including the right to request flexible working.
Notes to Editor
The data is drawn from a survey of 1,768 parents undertaken by Netmums in May 2014. The survey respondents were parents living across the UK. Some 39 per cent had university qualifications, while 32 per cent had Level 3 (A-Level equivalent) qualifications or below.
About the Family and Childcare Trust
The Family and Childcare Trust works to make the UK a better place for families. Our vision is of a society where government, business and communities do all they can to support every family to thrive. Through our research, campaigning and practical support we are creating a more family friendly UK. For further information, go to www.familyandchildcaretrust.org.
Netmums.com is Britain’s biggest parenting site, with over 1.7 million members and 7 million unique users each month. Founded in 2000, it offers unrivalled support though a unique network of 151 established and vibrant local websites and 300 national groups for mums to meet offline, alongside 2,300 parent bloggers covering the most topical family-focused content on the web. Netmums is also the only parenting site to provide professional round the clock care to its users. Dubbed 'the emergency service for mums', each year over three and a half million parents are helped by Netmums specially trained teams of parenting supporters, including staff from Relate, Women’s Aid and the Family Rights Group. The site also provides free one-to-one support for more than 30,000 of the UK’s most vulnerable mums each year. The three Netmums founders were recently awarded OBEs in recognition of their Services to Families.