Over a quarter of older workers think employers favour staff with family

Over a quarter of UK workers aged between 45 and 54 who work with other people think their employer puts their colleagues who have children or families first, according to a poll by YouGov for Croner.

Over a quarter of UK workers aged between 45 and 54 who work with other people think their employer puts their colleagues who have children or families first, according to a poll by YouGov for Croner.

The survey of 1,175 working adults with colleagues found 18% of people aged 45 to 54 felt their company put the needs of employees who have children or families over the rest of the workforce adn 9% strongly agreed.

Under current employment legislation employees who have children have the statutory right to ask to work flexibly, a right that is denied to people who no longer have – or who never had – family commitments.

The survey shows a large variation of opinion by region. Overall, people in the survey who live in Scotland are far less likely to agree that their employer puts the needs of those with children or families first (just 14% agree, or strongly agree) compared with Yorkshire and the Humber, where 32% agree or strongly agree.

Carol Smith, a senior employment consultant at Croner, says: "There is no doubt that flexible working for people with families is a good thing. The Government has done much to improve and modernise UK legislation so that more people can work flexibly to improve their work-life balance. However, it is not good news for the UK’s older workers after the Government shelved plans to extend flexible working."

Plans to extend flexible working to all workers were announced in May 2011, but no legislation has been announced.

"In spite of the absence of extended flexible working legislation, Croner recommends that employers should have flexible working policies that do not disadvantage other groups within their workforce," says Smith.

"This will not only help to avoid possible workplace conflict but improve employee relations, help with recruitment and retaining staff and almost certainly improve productivity.

"Organisations should begin by carefully considering what they want to achieve. They should review how work is currently organised and what flexible options are available that could make this change. It is important to consult employees and customers on the planned changes to ensure they understand that there will be a possible change to people’s working patterns."





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