Normalise flexible working
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Require companies to report on how many flexible working requests are made and how many are granted.
I’ve wanted a career in advertising for as long as I can remember. I worked hard to get the qualifications I needed, and was delighted to be made Account Director at an ad agency in 2011. Everything was going really well until I had a baby.
After Rosie was born, I needed my employer to offer me flexibility so I didn’t have to place her in childcare 5 days a week. Childcare costs are so expensive and she needed me to be there for her in those early days. I submitted a flexible working request, asking to reduce my hours from full-time to part-time. I said that I’d be prepared to work 3 or 4 days a week, or even do a job share if that would work better for the company.
All employees have a legal right to request flexible working, and employers must handle such requests in a “reasonable manner”. An employer can only refuse an application if there’s a good business reason for doing so. My request was denied without explanation.
I felt that I had no choice but to resign. I could have taken the case to a tribunal but, the thought of getting lawyers involved was hugely unappealing when I was still getting my head round being a mum.
So, I’m now unemployed. Of course I’m grateful for the chance to spend more time with my daughter, but I’m so angry that I felt I had no choice but to walk away from a career that I’ve been building for the last 11 years.
By refusing to allow employees the opportunity to work flexibly (either part time or not working the traditional 9 - 5), employers are creating serious problems for their company and the economy. 84% of generation Z and millennials seek flexibility when job hunting and the UK economy would be £165 million richer/more productive if all businesses got on board (Government’s Capital and wellbeing report 2017)
Currently it’s far too easy for companies to dismiss flexible working requests out of hand – so many people, like me, are forced to quit their jobs. This is bad for business and the economy. More needs to be done to force firms to take flexible working requests seriously. That’s why Pregnant Then Screwed is asking the Government to force all companies to publicly report on how many flexible working requests they receive, and how many they grant. It’s only by making them publicly accountable that they’ll really start to give flexible working a fair go.
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