Working Families 2015 Manifesto

This week we attended the Working Families Policy Conference.  We are particularly keen to reiterate the key points from the working families 2015 manifesto – especially because we see first-hand on a daily basis how so many of us still struggle with the work-life compromise.

The manifesto states ‘working parents, grandparents and carers need the twin currencies of time and money’.  It recommends that the government elected in 2015 will address 4 key areas:

  1. Time

The manifesto requests a new right to a period of adjustment leave for employees to weather the storm of short-term crises; and to enable Shared Parental Leave to be available to ALL fathers from day 1 of employment.

In the organisations we work with, we have seen an overall cultural improvement in awareness of flexibility and the benefits it can bring.  However, in practice, many of those working flexibly suffer from negative assumptions and lack of progression.

  1. Equality at work and home 

We need to continue to address the problem that not enough fathers are taking up flexible working opportunities.  The manifesto requests that the current statutory entitlement to paternity leave is increase from 2 to 6 weeks and that Shared Parental Leave will be eligible to all fathers from day 1 of their employment.

We agree that only when fathers’ parental leave rights begin to get closer to maternity rights will we ever create an equal playing field.

  1. Money

Flexible work that pays enough to support the family is still a huge issue in the UK.  The manifesto requests that the real value of statutory maternity and paternity is restored (it was lost as a result of the 1% cap on annual uprating since April 2013).  There is also a request for Universal Credit to be enhanced.

  1. Childcare infrastructure

The lack of affordable, good quality childcare hits working parents well before they even start to reintegrate back in the jobs.  The bottom line is that if the logistics don’t work for them then they will leave work.  The manifesto recommends that a cabinet-level minister for childcare is appointed, as well as a minister who will have specific responsibility for improving childcare for disabled children.

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