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16 October, 2020 Open access

One in five working parents feel they have been treated less fairly at work since onset of COVID-19

Findings of YouGov poll demonstrate need to add caring responsibilities to list of protected characteristics in Equality Act 2010, says Working Families

One in five working parents feel they have been treated less fairly at work due to their childcare responsibilities since the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a new report from Working Families.

In Flexistability: Building back better for the UK’s working families, published today, Working Families sets out findings from a YouGov poll which asked working parents whether they agreed with the statement 'I have felt treated less fairly at work because of my childcare responsibilities since the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK began', including that -

Working Families goes on to argue that these results demonstrate the need to add caring responsibilities to the list of protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010, providing a legal foundation on which to tackle workplace discrimination against parents and carers.

Commenting on the report, Working Families Chief Executive Jane van Zyl said -

'At the height of lockdown, the Prime Minister made clear that parents must be ‘defended and protected’ if they are unable to work because they cannot get the childcare they need. But there is currently no legal or regulatory mechanism to defend or protect working parents in the way the Prime Minister has suggested. In terms of childcare, we are certainly not back to ‘business as usual’ - since schools reopened in September, parents have continued to struggle, managing staggered school times, gaps in wraparound care provision, and the ever-present risk of being required to self-isolate.

With millions of parents facing unfair treatment at work just for having caring responsibilities - and waves of COVID-related redundancies around the corner - now is the time for the Government to act and make being a parent or carer a protected characteristic.'

For more information, see One in five working parents has faced unfair treatment at work since COVID-19 onset from workingfamilies.org.uk