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This year International Women’s Day actions for #EachforEqual. This in part, draws on the notion that equality is not a women's issue, it's a business issue and gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive. Although women’s rights in the workplace have changed radically over the past few decades, Renovo work with many women who still come up against issues that may negate their capacity to fully optimise their career goals due to the need to care for children or other family members. The stats echo this: the Office for National Statistics have found that 1.8 million UK women (compared to 0.2 million men) are not in paid employment as they are looking after family.
So, what are the problems and what solutions are available to overcome them? Here are some of the common obstacles for parents with some practical advice for both women and men on how to challenge them.
The freedom to work flexibly is an issue for lots of women. Research shows that women who have children or care giving responsibilities often struggle to find flexible opportunities, as well as many being singled out with a lack of flexible options from their employer. Flexible working supports family/personal circumstances and can work in tandem with Shared Parental Leave so that women can find a positive work life balance. Some employers pride themselves on having a flexible workplace.
When job searching, it’s important to remember that just because a job advert doesn’t advertise flexibility, it doesn’t mean that the employer won’t consider it. Employers are becoming increasingly more open minded to flexible working and now recognise that it makes good business sense to focus on productivity and results rather than time spent in the office. You also have the right to ask for flexible work if you have been working in a business for over 6 months.
Depending on your circumstances, you might be eligible for maternity leave and/or pay. You can find the most up to date information on the gov.uk website which is also where you can find out what other benefits you might be eligible for.
Similarly, information on Paternity pay and /or leave can be found on the gov.uk website, both areas explain parental employment right when on leave, including pay rises, holiday accrual and return to work.
SPL was introduced in 2015 to help parents return to work should they wish. As well as supporting the employee, the policy helps employers retain talent and, in some circumstances, can contribute to closing their gender gap. By sharing childcare responsibilities, both parents have the capacity to return to work, often omitting the concerns that a lengthy period of absence can produce.
According to a recent survey, “91% of returners [are] offered no support to come back to work. 92% said that a dedicated returner programme would have been beneficial to them”. For any parent, returning to work after a career break can be a daunting prospect, whether returning after a baby, looking after a sick relative or having had a period of ill health.
Some industries and sectors have a return to work programme – A ‘Returnship’ is an opportunity for employers to access an untapped pool of experienced individuals who may have taken an extended career break and are looking to return to their profession. These programmes offer returners a re-introduction to the workplace and addresses issues such as confidence, as well as updating industry-specific knowledge. Introduced by Goldman Sachs, several organisations such as NatWest, O2, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley were some of the 23 companies who offered Returnships in the UK over the last few years.
If you’re returning to work or looking for a new role after a career break, Renovo have a wide collection of resources which offer crucial advice to jobseekers and employees.
Renovo is the UK’s leading outplacement and career transition specialist. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you, please call 0800 612 2011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org