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In October 2016, Working Families and the Childcare Voucher Providers Association (CVPA) held a roundtable on “The future of childcare support for working parents”. Our roundtable drew together stakeholders from the childcare and family advocacy sectors, as well as professional associations, and employers.
The discussion was held in advance of the roll-out of a new system of childcare support, Tax-Free Childcare, from early 2017.
Tax-Free Childcare marks a major change from child care vouchers, the existing scheme that provides support with childcare costs. Under current plans, the popular childcare vouchers scheme will be closed to new entrants from April 2018.
'Family Friendly Working and Low Income Families' – Policy Briefing'
There is increasing recognition of the value of family friendly and flexible ways of working to employers, families and communities in Scotland. But much of the debate over recent years has been concentrated among middle and high income employers and employees, where flexibility has grown to be viewed as a point of competitive advantage.
Less attention has been focused on the experiences of low income families, although there is growing concern about the economic situation of ‘just managing families’. In order to better understand the experiences and needs of lower income families, Family Friendly Working Scotland commissioned original interviews and focus groups with low income parents, analysed alongside existing quantitative data from consecutive Growing Up in Scotland studies.
'Time to Rebalance' – the results paper '
How work life balance eludes working parents in Scotland.
Parents and carers play a crucial role in Scotland’s labour force. In the lead up to National Work Life Week 2016 Family Friendly Working Scotland asked over 600 parents in Scotland to tell us about their work life balance.
Working parents across Scotland are facing a battle to achieve a healthy integration between home and work. Lack of time, lack of money and very often both is a real daily challenge for many parents in Scotland. This negatively impacts our health, wellbeing and family life, plus it is bad for business and our economy as unhappy workers are not productive workers. The good news is that many employers in Scotland are adapting to modern, fair and flexible ways of working. If more employers embrace this change there will be a huge impact on our society and economy.
Modern Families Index 2015: Scotland
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.
Fathers in the early years
The new shared parental leave scheme is amongst the latest additions to a growing inventory of work-related family friendly policies and flexible working arrangements, developed and introduced by the UK Government over the past two decades.
Research shows consistent links between high levels of work-family conflict and adverse work outcomes, including low productivity, decreased job satisfaction and high workforce turnover. However, studies also indicate that implementing family friendly practices within the workplace, and enabling access for employed parents to flexible working improves workers’ job-satisfaction, work engagement, absenteeism and productivity as well as work relationships and staff retention. Research also shows that using family friendly policies is linked to positive outcomes for families and children.
Published by: Fathers Network Scotland