The Workers Union is calling on business to protect single parents’ jobs in the wake of Coronavirus.
The news comes as single parent charity Gingerbread revealed that parents in this position were more likely to have been furloughed (30 percent) than parents in relationships (21 percent).
The charity is concerned that the end of furlough will see many single parents cast on the jobs scrapheap and has challenged the government to put together a package of measures to support them.
Victoria Benson, chief executive of Gingerbread said: ‘When it comes to work, single parents are already in a precarious position and it’s clear that without concerted effort things are set to get worse.
‘Single parents have much less flexibility than couple parents, limited access to quality jobs and significantly lower household incomes.
‘Before the pandemic nearly 70% of single parents were in work and yet many were still living in poverty.
‘The pandemic is widening the gulf and alarm bells are ringing loud and clear – the Government must do more to support single parents to access work and to ensure work pays.’
The Workers Union On Work for Single Parents
The plight of single parents is one that needs genuine attention. But there’s danger in heaping the problems at one door and expecting change. The government has done a fine job of keeping people in work who would otherwise be facing a desperate future. They have looked to invest in skills and provide alternative routes to the job market for workers whose jobs were decimated by COVID. Nobody would argue that their solutions have been perfect, but perfection is an impossible dream in a constantly shifting world.
What can be said with some certainty is that the state has made a contribution. Now it’s time for businesses to step up and deliver flexibility based on personal circumstances, not on the mythical idea of the “average worker”.
This means offering flexitime as a core contractual right. It means providing home working options for people so that they can juggle their childcare commitments. It means collaborative working between managers and staff so that deadlines remain realistic and achievable.
Above all, it means retaining jobs for single parents where possible. Looking beyond the circumstances and investing in the talent and aspirations of these hard-working people.
This should not be seen as overly ambitious or radical. In fact, there’s never been a better time to start turning the wheel away from old models of working relationships and defining a new settlement based on trust and equitable partnerships.
If businesses make these changes then government can play a role by reducing childcare costs for single parents and delivering tailored employment options through Jobscentre Plus.
Given a chance, the holistic approach can produce results. Now it’s up to everyone with an interest to make sure it does.
The Workers Union – fighting for social justice, fighting for you