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Working Families calls for extension of flexible working and simplification of childcare tax system

The General Election has been officially called for 6 May, but Working Families has called on a future Government to make flexible working available for all employees and make the childcare tax system simpler.

Working Families' manifesto demands are for all workers to have a right to request flexible working, all jobs to be offered on a flexible or part-time basis and, unless there are sound business reasons why not, all fathers/partners to be entitled to paternity leave, regardless of length of service.

The organisation has also called for a paid and independent right to extended leave for fathers/partners, statutory maternity and paternity pay to be at minimum wage levels, all parents including self-employed and adopting parents to have paid maternity/paternity leave.

Working Families' manifesto demands include leave to be available on a more flexible basis, parental leave to be paid, carers to have an equivalent to parental leave, flexible and affordable childcare to reflect flexible work patterns and tax credits contribution to childcare costs to be paid at 100% (not 80%)

Sarah Jackson, chief executive of Working Families, said: "Many of our demands are cost-neutral or could even save money. Extending the right to request flexible working to all employees is a simple step forward that could have a profound impact on the UK's working culture.  For the sake of the UK's economy we need to use the talents of all our employees. Workplace flexibility, as President Obama noted last week, affects the strength of the economy, the success of businesses and the wellbeing of families.

"More family-shaped jobs means more parents in work, and a chance for the next government to make progress in closing the gender pay gap and addressing child poverty.
"The next five years need to see a great leap forward for fathers. Today's leave arrangements for parents mean loaded choices for families, and too often result in poor outcomes for women in terms of discrimination and sidelining at work. Men are missing out on valuable family time. Government leadership, as well as improved rights for fathers, is needed.

"And we need a real commitment to make life easier for parents struggling with childcare, particularly in holiday times. Today's climate is uncertain for parents and they need a simple and responsive tax and benefits system that reflects frequent changes in their hours of work and childcare arrangements."