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New TUC guide makes the case for family-friendly working practices

The TUC has launched a new guide to persuade employers of the benefits of introducing family-friendly policies at work.

The guide makes the case for good, family-friendly working practices and features case studies where unions have negotiated forward-thinking policies with employers. And, according to the guide, good flexible working practices benefit staff and their companies by helping to retain employees, increase productivity and morale.

However, while millions of workers and their families have benefitted from the growth of flexible working, the guide warns that poorly managed workplaces can do harm more than good, often leading to long and unsocial hours.

The guide explains the various legal entitlements to paid and unpaid time off, as well as the right to request flexible working. Unions are often able to negotiate policies that go well beyond the legal minimum, with some of the most effective policies open to all staff and not just parents, the guide says.

The TUC claims many employers still base family-friendly working practices on traditional notions of family. This is likely to exclude many workers such as fathers and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, who also have rights as parents and carers.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Unions have led the way in the long battle for more family-friendly rights and it's now one of the main issues that members ask their union rep for guidance on.

"As fewer parents and carers fit the stereotypical model of the breadwinner husband with part-time working wife, it's important for union reps to be fully informed on everyone's legal entitlements.

"Our new guide should help union reps negotiate better family friendly-working practices. After all, as the examples in our guide show, good policies can benefit both staff and employers alike."