Pregnant Then Screwed used the rallies to call for 5 changes:
- Increase the time limit for raising a tribunal claim from three months to at least six
- Require companies to report on how many flexible working requests are made and how many are granted
- Give both parents access to six weeks' parental leave paid at 90% of salary
- Give the self-employed access to statutory shared parental pay
- Subsidise childcare from six months old, rather than three years.
Some thoughts - on point 2, tracking the number of flexible working requests made and granted would be a good start. In addition to this, leadership and cultural development work is needed to ensure that the culture feels supportive and that managers have access to training and development around how to manage flexibility in their teams – signing off a request is just the very first step – managing ongoing flexibility is another skill in itself.
On point 3, ensuring this is about dads as well as mums will help everyone – only when dads are taking up longer periods of leave to look after their families will we all get to experience equality in the parent/professional role split. It was great to see that fathers were also present on the march, albeit in low numbers. However, it’s not just about the pay – organisations who do pay their dads for longer periods of leave haven’t necessarily seen an increase in take-up. This goes back to the importance of culture and the leadership.
In response, it was reported that a spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said:
‘discrimination in the workplace is illegal in any form and we are considering ways of ensuring new and expectant mums feel properly supported and protected at work.’