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Parents of disabled children will not seek promotion due to lack of flexibility, says Working Families

Over two-thirds (64%) of working parents with disabled children have refrained from seeking a promotion, turned down a promotion or accepted demotion in order to balance caring and work, according to new research from work/life organisation Working Families.

The research, which surveyed over a thousand parents of disabled children, found that of the 73% that are in paid work, 61% had changed or tried to change their pattern of work, while 56% had reduced or tried to reduce their hours, in order to manage their caring responsibilities.

However, a large number of parents with disabled children are not in work at all, although 91% of them would like to be. Of those unemployed, 82% had given up work in order to care for their disabled child and over 50% had been unemployed for over six years.

Sarah Jackson, CEO of Working Families, said: "Our research shows that there is a lack of suitable childcare, flexible working options, and financial incentives to work. These factors, together with the higher costs of childcare, all conspire to force parents of disabled children to reduce their hours, accept less well paid work or opt out of the labour market altogether. This is not only detrimental to the welfare of these families but it also represents a loss of skills to employers and a cost to the wider economy through loss of tax revenues and additional benefit payments."

She continued: "Working Families is calling for action by Government, by employers and by service providers to acknowledge that parents of disabled children can and do want to work alongside caring for their children. Systems need to be put in place to support parents at the point of diagnosis or crisis and thus enable them to remain in work."