A new report calls on the Government to do more to support single parents who have been disproportionately hit by Covid, due to being more likely to work in low-paid, part-time jobs.
More single parents are at risk of poverty as a result of Covid due to the fact that they are more likely to have been furloughed and work in hard-hit sectors with more part-time jobs, according to a new report.
The report published by single parent charity, Gingerbread, and the Institute for Employment Studies says the full impact of the pandemic on single parents’ jobs has yet to be seen with the furlough scheme due to end in the autumn. Data in the report shows that single parents are more likely to have been furloughed (30%) than couple parents (21%) and a far greater proportion (46%) worked in hard-hit sectors like hospitality and retail compared to couple parents (26%).
The report also calls on the Government to better support single parents to access quality flexible childcare. It says some childcare providers have been forced to close due to the pandemic and others have raised their fees. With many single parents having been furloughed and on reduced income, many may struggle to pay for childcare, and for upfront childcare fees. It says single parents are more likely to be in lower paid, part-time jobs and before the pandemic earned half of the salary of couple mothers. The report says that, without childcare, single parents will be locked out of the labour market.
Victoria Benson, Chief Executive of Gingerbread said:“When it comes to work, single parents are already in a precarious position and it’s clear that without concerted effort things are set to get worse. Single parents have much less flexibility than couple parents, limited access to quality jobs and significantly lower household incomes. Before the pandemic nearly 70% of single parents were in work and yet many were still living in poverty. The pandemic is widening the gulf and alarm bells are ringing loud and clear – the Government must do more to support single parents to access work and to ensure work pays. If it doesn’t then we will see more children living in poverty and more single parent families suffering the disadvantage this brings.”
Tony Wilson, Director of the Institute for Employment Studies called for “a far greater focus on specialist employment support for those single parents who are out of work, alongside new investment in childcare and skills support”.
The report also calls for jobs to be flexible by default and for employers to ensure flexible working is not limited to homeworking.
The report calls on the Government to: