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Employees Penalised for Flexible Working Requests

Calendar December 7, 2021

A new study has revealed that low-paid parents can be penalised at work when they request flexible working.

According to the TUC, 42% of respondents said asking for flexibility led to them being given fewer hours, worse shifts or even losing their job.

The study also found that irregular hours are to blame for low-paid parents finding it harder to manage work and childcare. And many feel vulnerable when their employers can change their working hours with little notice. One in four (26%) parents told the TUC they had their shifts changed at short notice, and one in five (19%) had been given their rota less than a week in advance, making planning childcare very difficult.

In addition, more than half (58%) of mums and dads working in low-paid sectors like retail, hospitality and social care said that they didn’t know what rights at work they were entitled to. Nearly two in three (63%) weren’t aware of their right to unpaid parental leave.

These findings have prompted the TUC to call for all workers to have the right to be notified of their shifts one month in advance. That will mean working parents can plan childcare commitments and do their jobs.

It is also campaigning for all working parents – including zero-hours contracts workers, agency workers and those in casual work – to have the same parents’ rights, from day one in their jobs. Currently these rights are only available to workers with “employee” status, and therefore 1.5 million workers won’t have access to these rights if they become parents.

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