Flexible working rights to be extended

Parents of children aged up 17 to will be allowed to apply for flexible working, the Prime Minister announced last night [Tuesday 6th November].
Currently only parents of disabled children and children under 6 are permitted to apply for flexible work options such as part-time work and home working.
An independent review of how the extension would work will be carried out by Sainsbury’s human resources director Imelda Walsh. She will report back in the Spring and the plans will be put out for consultation.
Harriet Harman, deputy leader of the Labour party, said: “Mothers often tear their hear out trying to balance earning a living with bringing up their children and need more flexibility at work. And fathers want to play a bigger part in bringing up their children.”
The Government also released a survey on Tuesday which showed a growing interest in flexible working with 93% of employers agreeing to requests for flexible working.

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Mums want to work for themselves
More than half of new mothers want to set themselves up in their own business rather than work for someone else, according to a survey by Tesco Baby & Toddler Club.

Six per cent of the 2,000 mums interviewed already had entrepreneurial plans. One in 10 said they were fed up of their bosses overlooking them for promotion because they were parents, one in five had had enough of being asked to work longer than their contracted hours and one in 10 said they faced discrimination by female colleagues who treated them worse than men.
Twenty per cent of those interviewed said they wanted to work from home as this offered them the flexibility they needed to manage work and family life.

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Guide to flexible working launched
London Transport has launched a guide to encourage employers to let their staff work more flexibly.
More than 1.3million people spend over an hour commuting to London every day, causing overcrowding and strain on the capital’s transport system and the number is set to keep rising.
The Smarter Working Guide has been produced in collaboration with the not-for-profit organisation Work Wise UK. The benefits for employers include being able to attract a wider pool of talent and to provide a better work/life balance for employees.
Ben Plowden, director of travel demand management at Transport for London, said: “In the next 15 years or so, the capital’s population is expected to grow by 800,000 people, which will greatly increase the demand on the transport network, particularly during peak hours.
“It’s more important than ever for employers to take advantage of the opportunities smarter working practices can offer both their organisations and their employees.”

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Controversy rages over single mums book

A book which gives advice to aspiring single mothers has caused a wave of controversy, reports The Observer.
The book, Knocked Yourself Up, is written by American journalist Louise Sloan and aims to ‘celebrate’ being a single mother. It is published in the UK next month.
But it has been criticised for advocating ‘consummately selfish choices’ and Sloan has been called ‘the epitome of selfishness’.
She defends the book, saying it is important to be positive about issues such as being a single parent and adds that many single mothers prefer not to talk about their experiences for fear of criticism.
According to The Observer, around 82,000 single women over 30 gave birth last year in the UK, around twice as many as a decade ago. It also cites a YouGov survey which found that two thirds of women polled felt it was acceptable for a financially secure single woman to have a baby on her own.

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Breastfeeding can lower heart disease and raise children’s IQ
Babies who are breastfed have a lower risk of developing heart disease in adult life, according to new research.
The study of 393 mothers and 962 middle-aged children, by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston, found that people who had been breastfed had higher levels of so-called good cholesterol and lower than average body mass index, reducing their risk of contracting heart disease.
Another study of more than 3,000 children by King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry found that babies who are breastfed scored on average seven points more in IQ tests if they had a particular version of a gene. This suggests that breast milk could improve IQ for children with a particular genetic make-up.

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