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Employ a different attitude to work and school hours

What isn’t working?

One of the greatest challenges for single parents is finding a job that allows them to balance work with their caring responsibilities. Having to be available for the school run or during the school holidays, not to mention being around should a child fall ill, doesn’t fit in with the way most jobs are designed.

While small steps have been taken to encourage employers to offer more flexibility to staff who are parents – most notably the right to request flexible working- there is a six-month waiting period after starting a job before this can be requested, meaning finding a job that’s suitable in the first place is still as tricky as ever. What’s more,  many employers still favour a traditional 9 to 5 full-time day (5 days a week) or a half-time fixed hours alternative which offer very few real options for single parents trying hard to be there for their kids.

How to make it work

To give single parents the opportunity to access longer-hours jobs and flexible working
options, a new, collaborative partnership from government, employers and schools is
essential.

We need to see:

  • All primary schools to provide a guaranteed extra two hours a day of before and/or after school activities on-site
  • Employers to trial job design around ‘¾-time’ hours (typically 24-32 hours per week), as well as extending other forms of flexibility where possible
  • Government to extend the right to request flexible working from the point of job offer onwards