Working Families responds to Queen’s Speech
Published: 10 May 2022
The Government’s Employment Bill has fallen off the legislative agenda for the second year in a row.
Having promised to make flexible working the default, to provide workers in insecure jobs with rights to have more predictable schedules, to extend redundancy protections, to reduce pregnancy and maternity discrimination, and to offer neo-natal care and carers leave, there is still no sign of the Employment Bill.
These reforms, which the Government recognised the importance of in 2019, would transform the lives of working people with caring responsibilities.
The experience of the pandemic has shown that many more jobs than previously thought possible can be worked on a flexible basis. We have seen some excellent examples of employers using their own initiative to support family friendly working – with positive impacts on productivity.
However, relying on employers alone to create flexible and family-friendly working environments is not enough. Too many parents and carers are struggling to balance their work and family commitments—particularly those in insecure work and on low incomes.
Our research from 2021 shows that over three-quarters of UK parents want the Government to intervene to create more flexible jobs. The Government has a clear mandate to act.
We also know from our research that a significant proportion of parents who work shifts receive less than a week’s notice of their shift patterns. The hardest hit are young, low-income families. This level of uncertainty—combined with last minute changes—carries a significant financial cost for workers. We are calling on the Government to take action to end this ‘insecurity premium’.
With the lingering impact of the pandemic and the current cost-of-living crisis, it has never been more important for the Government to fulfil its commitments and build back better for the UK’s 13 million working parents.