TUC says employers should be flexible to allow mums and dads have work-life balance

Tim Lezard Europe, UK,

primary schoolThe TUC has called on employers to this week support parents by allowing them to work flexibly as their children start primary school.

Around 400,000 working mothers have children starting primary school across England and Wales this month, which poses new challenges for their work-life balance.

Most primary schools in the UK operate a staggered start for children entering reception classes, with youngsters required to attend just for morning or afternoon sessions for the first few weeks.

While this is important to ensure children can settle into their new environment, some working parents may find it difficult to fit their shifts and working patterns around these staggered starts, warns the TUC.

The TUC suggests bosses should listen seriously to requests from staff to work flexibly, to take holiday or to take unpaid parental leave over this period to help with childcare arrangements. There are of course lots of different types of families, and many working dads may need the same flexibilities.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The beginning of September marks a huge milestone for children starting reception class. But for many working mums this time of year can also be a logistical nightmare.

“It’s important that starting school is not rushed and that children take their time to become settled and confident in school. But some families will really struggle to juggle childcare arrangements alongside work, and bosses need to be sympathetic to flexible working, work from home and leave requests.

“Flexible working has been a roaring success for both staff and smart employers over the last decade – despite grumblings from some business lobbyists. Unions have always negotiated good flexible arrangements with progressive employers. That’s why every worker should be in a trade union, to get their voice heard and their interests represented.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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