Working Families’ Response to Queen’s Speech
Published: 11 May 2021
We are disappointed to see that the Government’s Employment Bill seems to have fallen off the legislative agenda in today’s Queen’s Speech.
Back in 2019, the Government promised to bring forward the Bill and use it to do a number of things that would transform working live for millions of people with caring responsibilities: make flexible working the default for new jobs, provide workers in insecure jobs with rights to have more predictable schedules, strengthen redundancy rights for new mothers and offer neo-natal care leave.
Over the pandemic, we’ve seen up close how parents and carers have struggled to balance their work and family commitments. Pre-existing inequalities around who has access to flexible and secure work have worsened, hitting women and those on low incomes particularly hard. At the peak of the pandemic demand for our advice service rose sixfold, with many enquiries about poor employment practices and new parents at risk of redundancy.
But we have also learnt that many more jobs than previously thought possible can be worked on a flexible basis, and seen some excellent examples of employers using their own initiative to support family friendly working – with positive impacts on productivity.
While we wait to see how the Government intends to take forward its manifesto promises, we fear that the Government has missed a golden opportunity to build back better for the UK’s 13 million working parents.