Dawn Speech
Dawn Speech

Labour announces flexible working plans to support women in work

Speaking today, Saturday 23 February, at Labour’s standalone Women’s Conference, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, Dawn Butler, will announce new rights for all workers to have flexibility over their own hours from the first day of employment.

Under Labour’s plans, employers will be required to allow their employees to work flexibly from day one.

Women shoulder the overwhelming majority of caring responsibilities and are currently most likely to request flexible working. It’s these women who will benefit most from Labour’s changes to legislation. According to a recent survey by the ONS, around 46% of women sandwich carers, who look after both young children and elderly or disabled relatives, feel unable to work at all or as much as they would like.

This will help to tackle the gender pay gap and gender segregation in the workplace by increasing employment and promotion opportunities for women. It will also bring wider benefits such as reducing commuter congestion and reducing business costs such as office overheads. The right to flexible working will be open to all employees and will particularly benefit parents, those studying part-time and older workers.  

Announcing Labour’s plans to ensure flexible working from day one of employment, Dawn Butler said:

“Women do the vast majority of unpaid care, but this must not be a barrier to women in work. That’s why I’m announcing Labour’s plans to introduce rights to flexible working from day one of employment.

“This change to the law is essential to closing the gender pay gap and dismantling the structural barriers that hold women back from promotion and progression. It may also result in more men taking on caring responsibilities themselves, finally lightening the load that women bear. 

“Under Labour’s plans, no woman will be shut out of the workplace because they’re a mum or they care for a parent or a disabled loved one, or both. We need an economy that works for women, not against us.”

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