Charity calls for family friendly working hours

Bosses urged to be parents' flexible friends

Employers won’t get the best from staff with small children unless they’re allowed to work flexible hours, a new charity has claimed.

‘Working Families’ wants better rights for parents, and is calling for UK businesses to offer more flexible working options, better care facilities and an end to the ‘long hours culture’ – changes, it insists, that would be beneficial for all.

Speaking at the charity’s launch, Sarah Jackson, chief executive, said: “We know that long working hours are no good for business or productivity, and that they damage our health and working life.

“It’s time for a new family friendly working agenda to match the changing face of British family life.”

A survey by Working Families showed two fifths of employees with children would prefer the option of flexible working to any other employment benefit. If workers had an extra hour in their day, almost two thirds would spend it with their families.

The charity is being supported by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), which last year launched its own campaign against Britain’s ‘long hours culture’.

Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, said: “We work the longest hours of any European country. Indeed British men work the longest hours in Europe, with nearly a third of all fathers routinely working more than 48 hours a week. We’re unique in Europe because employers can force their staff to opt-out of the maximum working week.”

As reported on, the government is under increasing pressure to drop UK workers’ rights to ‘opt-out’ amid claims that it’s becoming a standard procedure on the commencement of employment, but the business community remains firmly against any such action.


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