More working fathers are starting to ask employers for flexible hours, but they are still far more likely than women to have their requests turned down, new research has revealed.
Figures from the TUC showed that employers look more favourably on requests from females. Only 10% of working mothers had their requests turned down, compared with 14% of men.
In the two years since parents of children under six have had the right to request more flexibility, 19% of the female workforce (2,375,000) and 10% of men (1,267,000) have asked about changing their hours. The report says that employers’ reluctance to grant men more flexibility heaps pressure on mothers and reinforces the idea that only women should juggle childcare and work.
The TUC has called for the rights to be extended to all workers, not just parents or carers, to help the UK enjoy a more flexible culture. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the situation was adding to the gender pay gap, holding back women’s potential and feeding into the long-hours culture.
“Many UK bosses are too shortsighted to grasp the fact that a flexible approach to work is not something to fear as expensive and irritating, but a change which makes sound business sense,” he said.