Retail workers’ children lobby for flexible working

Children of retail workers from across the UK have lobbied the minister for children to extend the right to request flexible working for their parents.

The junior lobbyists and working parents told Beverley Hughes MP that a new survey carried out by retail union Usdaw revealed that more than half of the UK’s 2.5 million shopworkers struggle to fit childcare around their working hours.

The survey also revealed that everyday childcare problems, including school closures, family illness, sudden breakdowns in care arrangements and school start and finish times, heap yet more pressure on working parents.

“Our members tell me that childcare and working hours, particularly during school holidays, cause them real day-to-day problems,” said Usdaw general secretary John Hannett.

“All our members are asking for is the government to help ease that pressure by extending the legal right to request flexible working to all parents of school-age children.

“The simple fact is that retail staff are not asking for the earth, but a little bit of common sense that will make sure they don’t have to leave their jobs if they can’t balance their work and parental commitments.”

The minister was impressed by the children’s comments and pledged to listen to their concerns.

“I was really impressed by Usdaw’s case, which will be a valuable contribution to the government’s review of flexible working,” Hughes said.

“Usdaw works hard representing working parents and we are looking closely at their campaign aim of extending the right to request flexible working to parents with school-age children.”




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