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A Step Towards a More Inclusive Future: Flexible working bill becomes law in the UK as of 6th April 2024

After seven years of campaigning, the founder of Mother Pukka, Anna Whitehouse, celebrates the flexible working bill becoming law in the UK.

 

flex appeal

As of 6th April 2024, the flexible working bill has officially become law in the United Kingdom. This landmark legislation marks a significant step towards creating a more inclusive and equitable workplace environment for employees across the country. 


The need for flexible working arrangements has long been recognised by campaigners like author Anna Whitehouse, who launched the platform Mother Pukka and the flexible working campaign Flex Appeal in 2015. Anna saw the importance of normalising flexibility in the workplace to help close the gender pay gap and allow more women to maintain their careers after having children.

 

flex appeal

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the viability of remote work for many companies, drastically shifting the workplace landscape. However, some organisations have been attempting to revert to old ways post-pandemic. The passage of the flexible working bill ensures that employees' rights to request flexible working arrangements are protected by law.

 

This legislation empowers women to better balance their professional and personal lives, thereby fostering a more inclusive and equitable work environment.


Historically, women have often been expected to scale back their careers to shoulder the majority of domestic responsibilities, particularly after having children. This has contributed to the persistence of the gender pay gap and has hindered women's career advancement. By normalising flexible working arrangements, the new law enables more women to maintain their careers while also fulfilling their roles as mothers.


Here are some key benefits of the flexible working bill for working mothers:

 

Improved work-life balance

With the right to request flexible working from day one, mothers can negotiate arrangements that allow them to better manage their family commitments alongside their professional responsibilities. This could include working from home, adjusting start and finish times to accommodate school drop-offs and pick-ups, or opting for part-time or compressed hours.

 

Increased job security

The new law protects women's right to request flexible working arrangements without fear of retribution or discrimination. This provides a sense of job security for mothers who may have previously felt hesitant to request flexibility due to potential backlash or negative consequences for their careers.

 

Enhanced career prospects

By enabling women to maintain their careers while raising children, the flexible working bill helps to level the playing field and reduce the "motherhood penalty." This refers to the disadvantages women often face in their careers as a result of taking time off or reducing their work hours to care for children. With more opportunities to work flexibly, mothers can continue to develop their skills, maintain professional networks, and advance their careers.

 

Reduced childcare costs

Flexible working arrangements can help to reduce the need for full-time childcare, which can be a significant financial burden for many families. By allowing mothers to work from home or adjust their hours, the new law can help to alleviate some of the costs associated with childcare.

 

Improved mental health and well-being

Juggling the demands of work and motherhood can be stressful and overwhelming. By providing more control and autonomy over their working arrangements, the flexible working bill can help to reduce stress and improve overall mental health and well-being for working mothers.

 

flex appeal

While the passage of the flexible working bill is a significant step forward, it is important to acknowledge that there is still work to be done to ensure that these rights are upheld in practice and that employers fully embrace the spirit of the law. Nonetheless, this legislation represents a crucial milestone in creating a more inclusive and supportive work environment for mothers in the UK.

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