Flexible working rights cautiously welcomed

2 July 2001

Fathers Direct, the national information centre for fatherhood, today gave a cautious welcome to the Government’s announcement that employers will be required by law to give serious consideration to requests from the parents of young children forflexible or part-time working.

Duncan Fisher of Fathers Direct said:

"The announcement is a first step towards ensuring that fathers as well as mothers can combine the tasks of breadwinning with proper care for their children. It is particularly important for fathers because until now the little legal provision that there is for part-time work among parents has not included fathers.

"However many will not have the opportunity to alter their work patterns until flexible and part-time working is a fully-fledged right. We urge the Government’s new taskforce to ensure that employers can refuse these provisions only with very good reasons, challengeable in the courts, so that a well-motivated initiative does not turn into a token gesture. Business would also be wise to support parents of young children seeking part-time work since research demonstrates that family-flexibility has pay-backs by cutting sickness rates and improving staff retention, loyalty and productivity."

Fathers Direct, the national information centre for fatherhood, is a charity, funded by public and private grants, which promotes positive relationships between men and their children.

Fathers Direct, Herald House, Lambs Passage, Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8TQ 020 7920 9491

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