Swinson: More role models needed to end ‘stigma’ around part-time work

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Business and government must showcase senior part-time workers to end the ‘stigma’ surrounding part-time work, minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs & Women and Equalities Jo Swinson has said.

Speaking to HR magazine at the Employee Engagement Summit in London, Swinson said one of the most important things to improve career paths for part-time workers is to “showcase the people who are doing it”.

“People working part-time don’t always want to say they are working part-time, which I can understand, and that’s to do with this slight stigmatisation,” said Swinson. “Role models are so important in trying to change perceptions, and in government we should celebrate it as well.”

She claimed there is “more to be done” on making part-time working culturally acceptable in British businesses, saying there is a “snobbishness” around people who work part-time in senior roles.

“We need to challenge this notion that it’s full-time or not serious,” she said, adding she would like to see government doing more around it.

Extending the right to request flexible working and incoming shared parental leave legislation should hopefully drive a change in business culture and "normalise" more flexible working patterns, she added.

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