Flexible working – ask at job interview, say mums

Working mums who are keen to find new work often want to enquire about flexible working options, but some are wary of jeopardising their chances with a prospective employer so they’re hesitant to ask.  Workingmums.co.uk carried out a survey to find out when mums think they should mention the ”flexible” word.

Working mums who are keen to find new work often want to enquire about flexible working options, but some are wary of jeopardising their chances with a prospective employer so they’re hesitant to ask. Workingmums.co.uk carried out a survey to find out when mums think they should mention the ”flexible” word.

Our survey said
We asked ”When should you bring up flexible working in a new job?”. Nearly half (46%) said the best time to raise the subject was at the interview stage. One mum advised: ”Get yourself the interview first, then you can talk to them about your situation. Don’t forget that it’s easy to say no to an application form or an email, but if you can get an interview then you’ve got the fact that they are interested in you on your side.”
But responses to our poll varied – more than a quarter (27%) said the proper time to mention flexibility was to enquire about it before you had applied for the job. One mum pointed out it could work in the candidate’s favour if done early on. She said: ”This is something which should be entered on to the application form, as the employer may have flexible hours as an option and it would be a good thing to mention this at this point. You would also be showing your flexibility in working hours, should this ever arise.”
But 11% said the best time to raise the subject was after being told you’d got the job, while another 10% thought bringing up the topic of flexibility should not be done until a person had been in the job for a few months. However, one mum disagreed with this approach and said: ”Fairness should work both ways. Prospective employers and employees should be made aware of each one’s expectations before permanent decisions are made. A good approach generally results in good responses.”
More than 1000 people took part in the our survey.

Flexibility laws
Currently, only parents of children under the age of 17 and parents of disabled children under the age of 18 or carers of certain adults can make a request for flexible working. However, new legislation is set to come into place in April to extend the right to parents of all children under 18. The Government has also announced it will hold a consultation to allow anyone to ask for flexible working. Currently, an employee has the right to make a request to their employer for flexible working if they have been working for 26 weeks continuously. The request can be turned down by the employer on one of eight grounds, such as if granting the request would lead to additional costs or would have a detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demands.
Professor Claire Wallace, professor of sociology at Aberdeen University, told Workingmums.co.uk: ”Clearly, most people want to find out if there are opportunities for flexible working before they start working. It is important that employers take this on board if they want to hire women and men with families – family friendly policies can enhance the motivation of employees and their quality of work.”
Professor Wallace, who is UK leader for the Workcare Synergies project, is currently writing a book due to be published this year, Combining Work and Care: Strategies of Dual Earner Parents with Young Children, with co-author Professor Pamela Abbott, also a professor in sociology at Aberdeen University.
”Our research shows that it is important that employees are given a chance to negotiate the flexibility in their jobs together with their employers.”

* Employers dedicated to implementing flexible working will be attending Workingmums LIVE, a free exhibition on flexible working to be held on Tuesday March 8th, International Women’s Day. It offers a one-stop shop on flexible working, including seminars with experts on issues ranging from negotiating flexible working to starting your own business, and a chance to meet with family-friendly employers. For more information, go to www.workingmumslive.co.uk




Comments [2]

  • Anonymous says:

    Don't want the job? Mention flexible hours or part time working at the interview. Unfair but that's how it is.

  • says:

    I’m very fortunate to have flexible working arrangements which is really important given that I am a single mum. I believe it can benefit both the employer and the employee – it just needs to be given a chance!


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