- All jobs should be available to work flexibly unless an employer can demonstrate an immediate and continuing business case against doing so
Data from 2016 shows that just 8.7% of jobs paying a full-time equivalent of £20,000 are advertised as available to work flexibly or part-time. This creates a significant bottleneck to women’s employment, promotion and progression opportunities. The Government response argued that the right to request flexible working which is in place “strikes a balance between giving employees the flexibility to combine work with other responsibilities and allowing employers to plan effectively. Employers can also advertise jobs on flexible terms or offer flexible working arrangements to their employees outside the statutory scheme if they wish – and many employers already do so.”
- A more effective policy on shared parental leave
The Committee recommended that fathers and second parents should be entitled to three months’ well-paid, non-transferrable paternal leave in addition to current parental leave benefits. They also recommended equalising the payments for the first four weeks of maternity and paternity pay. The Government rejected these proposals for reforming parental leave on the grounds that Shared Parental Leave is “still a very new policy”; it also pointed to the additional cost of well-paid paternity leave and argued that the proposals would offer less flexibility.
- A National Pathways into Work scheme for harnessing the skills and experience of women over 40
This scheme would give women a clear entry point into a support system offering careers guidance; retraining where necessary; and information on local skills shortages and job opportunities. The Government rejected this recommendation on the grounds that it “already provides advice and support to help women over 40 through the National Careers Service.” It also pointed to evidence for its Advanced Learner Loans, Mid-Life Career Review, and work experience and training programmes for benefit claimants aged 45 or older.
Deadline for submissions
Evidence should reach the Committee by 12 April 2017.