‘Single parents need protection from discrimination’

A new report calls for single parents to be protected under the Equality Act.

Working mother using laptop

 

Single parents should be a protected characteristic under the Equality Act, according to a new report which finds widespread perceived discrimination.

The report by Single Parent Rights, based on a survey of over one thousand single parent households and in-depth qualitative interviews, found that only 4% of single parents had not experienced discrimination across a range of different areas, including employment, housing and health.

On employment, the report calls for flexible working to be made the default for all jobs and for employers to be forced to publish flexible working options for all roles. It also says employees should be able to ask for flexible working at any point and that employers should be encouraged to enact single parent-inclusive HR policies. In addition it calls for flexible, cost-effective childcare to be made available to single parents and for the national minimum wage to be raised in line with the living wage.

On childcare during Covid, the report asks for a temporary legal right to furlough for single parents with significant childcare challenges and a guarantee of social bubbles for single parents. And it says single parents should be prioritised for childcare and school places during lockdowns.

When it comes to benefits, the report calls for the £20 Universal Credit uplift to be made permanent and to be extended to recipients of legacy benefits. Other benefits reforms it recommends include an increase om the Universal Credit standard allowance for single parents and equivalent in legacy benefits, the removal of the benefit cap and the two-child limit policy and an increase in the earning limit for tax free childcare for single parents to be in line with two-parent families.



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