Working parents are afraid to ask for flexible hours

UK employers are still unsympathetic to working parents despite new flexible
working laws and the huge demand from staff for family-friendly policies.

Research has found that two-thirds of office staff are anxious about asking
employers for time-off to care for their children, despite provisions included
in the Employment Act 2002.

Mothers and fathers are still afraid to ask for flexibility, with half of
the respondents describing themselves as either being ‘anxious’ or ‘very
anxious’ about approaching their manager.

Parents won the right to apply for flexible learning in April this year,
when new regulations requiring employers to consider all requests came into

However, the poll of 6,000 employees around the world revealed that a
quarter of British office professionals were actually delaying parenthood for
the sake of their career.

Steve Carter, head of OfficeTeam in the UK, said there needs to be serious
changes in the way managers deal with parents.

"Today’s workplace has put enormous strains on family life, and changes
clearly need to be made in the way we approach this," he said.

"Employers have to become family-friendly by creating an atmosphere
where employees don’t live in fear about asking for time off to care for

He said that schemes such as term-time contracts, flexible working plans and
company crèches helped to build a structured approach to work-life balance.

The research also illustrates the global nature of the problem, as similar
levels of dissatisfaction were found to be evident in Australia, Germany and

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