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Government wants 100,000 more single parents in work

Government wants 100,000 more single parents in work but survey reveals flexi jobs arent there
As children and families prepare for a new school year, single parents under pressure to find work will be sharpening their search for a job they can fit with family life.  But new Gingerbread research shows family-friendly jobs are still far too rare. 
The Government announced in the June budget that it will require a further 100,000 single parents to seek work in 2011 when their youngest child reaches five.  In October, 120,000 single parents whose youngest is aged seven will be required to seek work.  Parents must look for jobs of 16 hours or more, and parents with children aged under 12 can limit their job-search to school-hours jobs. But the lack of flexible jobs out there could jeopardise plans to have more single parents in work.
A national survey of Gingerbread single parent members and users of NetMums website (1) found a high number of single parents who had seen no or few jobs they could apply for advertised at part time hours (62%) within school hours (97%) as a job share (95%) or flexible in some other way (97%).
Hundreds of single parents have told Gingerbread what kind of employment practices they need if they are to balance work with their parenting responsibilities:
-         part- time or flexible hours so they can drop children off at school and pick them up...
-         flexibility to attend school functions
-         some paid time off when their child is sick
Launching a Gingerbread Briefing on flexible working today, Chief Executive of the charity Fiona Weir called for Government to move faster on plans for flexible working:
The business case for flexible working is proven with 92% of employers agreeing that people work best when they can balance work and other aspects of their lives.   Recent policy changes have focused on pressuring single parents to seek work or risk benefit cuts.  But that isnt what is needed.  Nationally nearly 60 per cent of single parents are already in work (2) and most of those on benefits say they want a job.  A workplace that works better for single parents is the missing part of the jigsaw.  Without action from Government and employers many single parents will remain trapped in poverty.
The Coalition Government has committed to introduce flexible working for all and launched a taskforce on children and families. Gingerbread is calling on the Coalition to:
?   implement its plans to enable all employees to apply for flexible working before it requires single parents to work once their youngest is aged five
?   Ensure all jobs in the public sector are offered on a part- time or flexible basis unless there is a clear business case not to.
?   introduce a right to paid parental leave to help parents deal with time off when children are ill.
And it wants employers to:
?   Offer employees a set number of paid days per year for caring for dependents.
?   Offer training on managing flexible working to all managers.
?   Offer jobs of 16 hours per week so that parents can claim working tax credit.


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