Proposals to make all jobs flexible by default


Advertising all roles as flexible could help close the gender pay gap, assist parents to share childcare, and better support older workers say experts.

A bill requiring employers to make all jobs flexible by default was introduced by Conservative deputy chairman and MP for Faversham and Mid Kent Helen Whately in Parliament on 16 July and was given approval to go to a second reading on 17 July.

Whately said that unless employers have a sound business reason for having specific working hours all jobs should be advertised as flexible.

It would help close the gender pay gap, assist parents to share childcare and help businesses retain staff, Whately explained. "The 40-hour five-day working week made sense in an era of single-earner households and stay-at-home mums, but it no longer reflects the reality of how many modern families want to live their lives," she said.

She added that a lack of flexible working reinforces gender stereotypes around work. “At the moment too many women are reluctantly dropping out of work or going part time after having children because their employers won't allow them flexibility. This entrenches the assumption that men are the breadwinners and women are the homemakers,” she said.


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