Working people across Scotland are struggling to find a way to balance their desire to prioritise a healthy, happy family life with the demands of the modern workplace.
There is no one size fits all pattern for family life: different families will have varying priorities and aspirations according to their circumstances. But however they configure their work and caring arrangements, families, in Scotland and the rest of the UK, need the twin currencies of time and income to enjoy a reasonable quality of life and the time away from work to do this. Where income is too low, or working time too long then this imbalance can result in a negative overspill into the home and into the workplace. Getting work right for parents and families is essential. Not only must it pay well enough to support family life but it needs to be alive to the realities of parents’ responsibilities outside the workplace.
The growth and spread of flexible working practices, the introduction of Shared Parental Leave and the attention currently being paid by the Scottish Government to encouraging the development of more family-friendly workplaces and to increasing the provision of free childcare together show that many employers and the Scottish and UK governments are trying to work with the grain of peoples’ lives. But some parents and carers do not have a full range of flexible options available to them and work itself is still organised in many workplaces in a way that is family-unfriendly.