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Low paid workers missing out on flexible working opportunities
Charity Working Families has recently revealed that those on lower annual pay are likely to be missing out on flexible working opportunities. After surveying 1000 working parents, the charity found that those earning over £70,000 a year are 47% more likely to be working flexibly than those earning £40,000 and below.
The research found that those on a lower wage, usually asking for flexible hours due to having children, are being met with unfair or unsatisfactory responses to their situation. It is thought that the majority of working parents regularly put in extra hours at work, some of which are unpaid. A quarter said they worked at least five extra unpaid hours a week.
These extra hours and other factors means that 56% of parents see their work interfering with their ability to put their children to bed at night. Chief executive of Working Families, Sarah Jackson, spoke to the BBC about these new findings; “We know flexible working makes business sense across the salary spectrum…We want jobs at all levels to be advertised as flexible. And this should be the norm, rather than the exception.”
As a result of the lack of flexibility in many low paid roles, some workers are leaving their roles to start up their own businesses. This gives the flexibility these workers want and need to make earning money fit their daily lives and situations.
However, this option has a huge deal of risk attached to it as a large number of people use their personal savings to fund their business start-up which means they risk losing a lot if this fails. It is a great option if your idea and business take off but it is not a guaranteed solution to the issue.
The Confederation of British Industry states that employers who don’t offer flexibility are short-sighted to the benefits this would have on their company and the wider economy. They say; “offering jobs at every level on a flexible basis will help companies to recruit and retain the people and skills that are needed to compete”.
Research by the Federation of Small Business (FSB) has shown that 80% of small businesses offer, or would consider offering, flexible working to their staff. The FSB agree that offering flexibility is an important way to retain staff so they don’t go elsewhere to a company and role that would better suit their needs.
As it becomes increasingly popular for both parents to continue working after having children, mainly for financial reasons, those companies that offer flexibility in working hours will be the ones that become most attractive.
Lower paid workers are currently struggling to manage their work-life balance and are risking their money and livelihoods to find a role that suits them and their family. It is clear that something will happen to address this situation but whether it is an increase in companies offering flexible hours or companies constantly losing staff over a refusal of flexibility that remains to be seen.