William Eichler 15 February 2024

Flexible-work denied to third of women in public sector

Flexible-work denied to third of women in public sector image
Image: Tatyana Soares / Shutterstock.com.

Three in ten (30%) women working in the public sector have had requests to work flexibly denied, new research from Unison has revealed.

The survey, based on responses from just over 44,000 women, also found a quarter (25%) reported that their requests for flexible working had been denied multiple times.

Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said that employers were being ‘inconsistent, rigid and unimaginative’.

The data shows more than two fifths (47%) of respondents had requested some flexibility in their jobs so they could achieve a better work-life balance.

More than a third (37%) had done so to look after their mental health, 36% to fit around their childcare needs and 29% for physical health reasons.

More than two fifths (42%) were told it would affect the quality of the service provided, and 28% that there wouldn’t be enough colleagues to cover their duties.

A fifth (20%) were denied any flexibility because their managers said it would prompt colleagues to ask for similar working patterns. Around one in seven (15%) were given no reason at all.

‘While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, some form of flexible working is achievable in most workplaces,’ said Ms McAnea.

‘Helping women to balance work with caring commitments not only improves morale, but can also help employers fill hard-to-recruit jobs. And with fewer vacancies, services provided to the public are likely to improve.’

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