London — May 31
Twenty seven percent of U.K. workers aged between 45 and 54 who work with other people think their employer puts their colleagues who have children or families first.
The finding comes from a survey of 1,175 working adults with colleagues by YouGov for Croner, part of global information services business Wolters Kluwer.
Under current employment legislation, employees who have children have the statutory right to ask to work flexibly — a right that is denied to people who no longer have, or have never had family commitments.
Croner asked the survey's respondents whether their company puts the needs of employees who have children or families over the rest of the work force. In the 45-54 age group, 18 percent agreed and 9 percent strongly agreed.
Interestingly, the survey shows a large variation of opinion by region. Overall, people in the survey who live in Scotland are far less likely to agree that their employer puts the needs of those with children or families first — just 14 percent agree, or strongly agree — compared with Yorkshire and the Humber, where 32 percent agree or strongly agree.
Said Carol Smith, a senior employment consultant at Croner: "There is no doubt that flexible working for people with families is a good thing. The Government has done much to improve and modernize U.K. legislation so that more people can work flexibly to improve their work-life balance. However, it is not good news for the U.K.'s older workers after the Government shelved plans to extend flexible working."
Plans to extend flexible working to all workers were announced in May 2011, when the government launched a consultation on modern workplaces. According to the Department for Business Innovation & Skills, the Government will publish its response in spring 2012. However, the Government has now cancelled all plans to extend flexible working.