Report highlights cost of not providing more flexible working

More flexible working would help women to increase their hours and stay in work, according to a new think tank report from the Centre for Progressive Policy.

keyboard with 'flexible' working

 

Women in the UK are providing more than twice as much unpaid childcare per year as men (23.2 billion hours vs. 9.7 billion hours) as well as spending more time caring for adults than men, according to a report by the Centre for Progressive Policy.

The think tank’s latest report, What Women Want,  finds that 830,000 women who provide care for an adult are unable to work entirely on account of their care responsibilities and that:

  • One in four (26%) women providing unpaid care to a child has reduced their hours at work
  • One in five (20%) women providing childcare is prevented from working more hours, despite wanting to work more
  • One in five (20%) women providing unpaid care for an adult has reduced their hours at work.

The report says that millions of women want to work more hours, if only they had more flexible working opportunities. 45% of women who care for others said they would be able to take on more hours, while around one in five (20%) said they would be able to take on a new role. 14% said they would be able to take on a different job, potentially suggesting that new opportunities could become available.

What Women Want shows that more flexible working, combined with better care support, would deliver significant benefits to women, boosting the earnings of female carers by £28.4bn per annum, delivering new working opportunities for up to 5 million women and an overall boost to the UK economy of over £60bn per annum.

The report’s recommendations include calls to:

  • Establish a national target to ensure that 70% of non-emergency roles are advertised as flexible by 2025
  • Create a default flexible working option to be applied to all new job adverts posted on all major job websites
  • Require all employers to consider flexible working arrangements for all new applicants
  • Expand access to training and development for management and leadership teams to help them understand how to positively respond to flexible working requests and foster a culture where flexible working is more normalised

 



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