I couldn’t resist writing about the Government’s proposed changes to update workplace regulations – additional “flexibility”!. You may have sensed, this is quite close to my heart.
Firstly, I must highlight the groans which I can already hear quite loudly from “some” employers, not all may I add. And yes, I agree small businesses will feel the pinch, however in the grand scheme of the things I feel that additional flexibility sprinkled across our society is what we so need to bring us into the modern world we all want to be part of. Some concerns have already been echoed by The Federation of Small Businesses “warning of the rule changes which may complicate current rules and may be a burden to businesses wishing to expand in a tough economic climate”.
Now before we get too excited, the Government will begin consulting on “plans” to give both parents an extra month off during the first year of baby’s life. The proposed date for introducing this is 2015. They may not actually even happen?
If they do go ahead, the way in which I interpret this is that the new flexible working plans will not only support parents with young families but anyone with “caring” responsibilities outside of their job. This would be a huge benefit to many people and their families in this country if it does become policy.
Looking at this from an employer’s perspective, it needn’t be considered a complete disadvantage for them. An example of my own experience when returning to work from maternity leave very early, as this was mainly for reasons of not wanting to impact my own career aspirations, but actually support a small business during an economic downturn. At the time, this policy would have worked a treat! I was very aware that I needed to return to work and at that time I could have concentrated on a few essential inputs to support the business and then move back out of my role to continue with my maternity leave. Perhaps this is what some businesses would actually benefit from without panicking that the world will crumble if a key employee’s skills/knowledge is absent for a period of time? I appreciate not always ideal for some businesses.
I really do think life has moved forward in our society. So many women return to work after their maternity leave nowadays and fathers do play a part in caring for children and domestic duties more than they ever did. I think the additional flexibility for dad’s is positive, however, I believe this will be harder to implement as it may simply result in some damaging their career’s. This has been highlighted from many business experts and also men’s “ego’s” may get in the way! I am not sure all men (especially if the main breadwinner) are going to take advantage of this. Again, really will depend on the father’s career, company and I think the individual. A good benefit to have though..
The first year of a babies life changes almost daily and it is a time to be enjoyed and is very precious. I guess the reason I am in full support for more flexibility is that it can be achieved, sensibly and may in fact assist some families to keep their career responsibilities on track as it certainly doesn’t need to be a “knee jerk” reaction going back to work. This new policy may just help some, not all, however it’s a good step towards supporting their family in what is quite a hectic and pressurised world we live in today…..
I have been searching for a trace of positive news from the budget supporting working mums and families……? Did I miss something?
In reality, the real announcements affecting working mums, has largely been around “reductions” and ”cuts” and the impact of many of these will directly affect working families. The impact will not only make families less well off which is obvious, but in some situations force one of two working parents within household’s to give up their job entirely as it isn’t financially viable for them to actually go to work. It may in fact change the dynamics of some households and force more mums to seek work opportunities but will they find the flexibility to support their decision? What we haven’t seen included in the governments plans to stabilise the private sector, is any consideration or drive for more family friendly jobs and the demonstration of positive growth plans.
Amidst my search I was pleased to find the views of Anna Bird - acting Chief Executive from the The Fawcett Society who so rightly pointed out that ” women bear the brunt of the government cuts”. She goes on to say “Female unemployment is already at its highest in more than 20 years and is set to rise still further, but the one million unemployed women in Britain will find little in the way of welfare support to fall back on. Women’s incomes will be further squeezed as child benefit is frozen, housing benefit capped, maternity payments scrapped and the value of benefits and tax credits reduced.” Well said!
If there is just one announcement from this budget I am in full believer of, and that is the encouragement of growth for more Entrepreneurs across the UK. The appetite for women to demonstrate their entrepreneurial talent certainly isn’t unheard of these days. There is an increasing number of successful “mumpreneurs” entering the market over the past few years, utilising their skills and innovative talent. As more small businesses being ran by “mumpreneurs” evolve, they will tend to hire like-minded woman seeking flexibility work patterns, which is a win, win situation. This creates new jobs and provides flexibility, which is good news. So, if the government’s growth plan doesn’t directly involve the creation of more family friendly jobs then there is great opportunity here to do it for yourself!