Supporting working parents: get working arrangements to suit you and your family!

Employers For Childcare know that family friendly working policies really matter to families. The ability to access a flexible working pattern, and work with an employer who appreciates the range of demands on your time helps you to balance work responsibilities with family life.

We hold the Family Friendly Employer Awards annually to recognise employers in Northern Ireland and across the UK who provide and actively promote family friendly working policies. They are the perfect opportunity for businesses to showcase their commitment to helping employees achieve a balance between their work and family lives.

Better for families

In our 2015 report Striking the Balance: the impact becoming a parent has on working life, employment and career’, we found that parents who could work flexibly were happier with their work-life balance, experienced enriched relationships with their children and had enhanced personal wellbeing. Many parents also find that being able to choose a different pattern of work can lower their childcare costs.

In fact, the most recent ‘Investors in People Job Exodus’ poll (which tracks major trends across the UK workforce), found that over a third of respondents (36%) said they would rather have a more flexible approach to working hours than a 3% pay rise!

Better for business

Helping employees achieve a positive work-life balance is also beneficial for employers as it leads to:

  • increased productivity,
  • reduced absenteeism,
  • ability to attract and recruit staff from a wider talent pool, and
  • improved staff retention.

New research published by social media training experts ‘Digital Mums’ revealed that:

  • six-in-ten UK workers said they would be more productive if they could work flexibly, and
  • over two-thirds said they would be more loyal to a business.

Would you like more flexible working arrangements?

There is a legal framework in place to support employees who would like to request a more flexible working arrangement with their employer.

Flexible working options include compressed hours, flexi-time, working from home, or during term-time hours. The trick is to find the pattern which best suits your circumstances. All employees in Northern Ireland who have been working for their employer for more than six months are entitled to request flexible working arrangements, and their employer has a duty to consider the request seriously.

You are only entitled to make one flexible-working request a year, so it is important that your application makes the best case for your request. These are our top tips on how to apply for flexible working:

  1. Make sure your application follows the correct process and is in the proper format.
  2. Give a full and detailed description of the flexible working pattern you are applying for.
  3. Make your request well in advance of when you want the change to take place.
  4. Make sure you put the date on your initial application.
  5. Remember that if your request is successful the change to your working pattern will be permanent.

Where can you find out more?

Employers For Childcare has produced a guide, setting out employment rights for working parents. It includes detailed tips on applying for flexible working.

You can also contact our Family Benefits Advice Service by calling Freephone 0800 028 3008. Our friendly team of experienced Family Benefits Advisors can provide free, impartial and confidential information and advice to parents to and inform you of your rights and entitlements.

For more information on this year’s Family Friendly Employer Awards contact