Equally Shared Parenting - Half the Work ... All the Fun

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Here's where we keep you updated on news about parenting as it relates to division of responsibilities, career versus home decisions, work/life balance, and legislative and grass-roots movements toward equality or better choices for families. We'll also throw in our opinions of life as equal parents in a nonequal world, regardless of what's in the news.

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Equality Blog

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Flextime Feeding Frenzy

Great Britain currently has a law that gives all parents with children under the age of 6 the right to request flexible work hours (reduced hours, working from home, or a change in schedule). This law, enacted in 2003, has resulted in 22% of the country's workers making such requests and about a 90% 'yes' response from employers (who have to prove that they have seriously considered each request and can demonstrate hardship if it is denied). The law has since been expanded to include parents of disabled children under 18 and carers of adults. Pretty cool!

Now, the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, is promising that this right will soon be extended to all parents with children under the age of 18. While this extension is not yet law, it is likely to become so in 2008.

Press reports of this promise point to a recent survey of managers that reveals no downside to companies from granting flextime requests for their employees. As I suspected! In fact, the number of new mothers who have left their jobs in search of another (more flexible) employer is down sharply since the law started. I imagine that this true for employees in general (rather than just new mothers), but don't have access to full stats at the moment. So flextime breeds stability.

Some consider this next expansion of the law to be a step toward offering it to ALL employees rather than just parents. I hope so!


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