Benefits and tax credits, maternity rights and flexible working top parents' list of concerns


Analysis by Working Families of all the calls to its legal advice service during 2014 has revealed the top concerns it heard from workers were maternity leave and pay, benefits and tax credits, other maternity rights, flexible working, and pregnancy or other maternity-related discrimination.



The analysis shows that of the 2,766 calls it received in 2014, 85% of came from women.



Maternity pay was the subject of more than 700 of these calls, while there were nearly 600 enquires about benefits and tax credits.



There were 500 calls about flexible working, meaning these three topics alone accounted for more than half of all calls it received.



As well as Working Families revealing the breakdown of calls, it also sets out what it believes the next government should do.



It calls for it to immediately restore the real value of statutory maternity, paternity and shared parental pay (currently it is capped at 1% per year), so that within the next ten years, this at-least equals the minimum wage.



It also calls for a ‘flexible by default’ approach to job design and recruitment in the public sector, where all jobs in central and local government are advertised on a flexible basis unless there is a specific, and good business reason not to.



The report says: “At present, there are simply too few good quality part-time or otherwise flexible jobs, putting single parents and parents of disabled children at particular disadvantage.”