Government to launch Family Friendly Working Hours Taskforce

The Government is proposing to launch a Family Friendly Working Hours Taskforce which will look at what more needs to be done to make work more family friendly.

The Government is proposing to launch a Family Friendly Working Hours Taskforce which will look at what more needs to be done to make work more family friendly.
The move is enshrined in the Government’s White Paper, Building Britain’s Recovery, published today.
The Taskforce will report in the spring. The Government has also pledged to explore how it can best recognise those employers with exemplar flexible working practices, for example, through a voluntary kitemark.
The White Paper includes measures that it claims will support people to balance work with their family life. These include:
– introducing new legislation which will allow lone parents who have a youngest child aged under 16 and are engaged in full-time study or training to claim Income Support in the summer period, instead of Jobseekers Allowance;
– trialling a low cost loan scheme – providing parents with affordable loans to cover the upfront costs of childcare;
– using improved IT and action through Jobcentre Plus to promote time-time vacancies and make it easier for people looking for part-time work;
– making enterprise and employment support more accessible for parents by providing it in locations by schools.
Caring responsibilities
It also pledges to provide better support for people combining paid work with caring responsibilities. It will carry out a consultation on how it can help people meet their caring responsibilities while remaining in work. It says this may include additional unpaid leave for planned responsibilities such as hospital visits and unpaid leave for carers of someone with a terminal illness.
Other measures announced in the White Paper include moves to ensure that Jobcentre Plus will do more, using new IT, to identify jobs which can be offered on a part-time or flexible basis, and better match individuals to jobs that fit with their family commitments.
It will also promote those who are unemployed and wish to start their own businesses, recognising that many people consider self employment when they want to work flexibly around children or older relatives.
The White Paper states: “We want to make it easier for people who are unemployed to start their own business so we will bring forward advice, support and financial assistance earlier in their JSA claim, with intensive support and a self-employment allowance available from three months of unemployment. Advice will be available from day one.”
The White Paper also paves the way for new funding to ensure that people on Jobseekers Allowance who take up training have their travel and childcare costs paid. In addition, it sets out incentives to get people off benefits and into work. For example, it states that it will ensure the benefits system encourages lone parents to try out work for a few hours a week as a stepping stone towards a move off benefits; that it will widen access to free school meals for those in work, as announced in the Pre-Budget Report and that it will raise the earnings limit within Carer’s Allowance from £95 to £100 a week.
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