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Work+Family Summary: November 2016


In this month's summary, Ben Black looks at fatherhood, women returning to work, and some slightly strange news from the world of work+family


Ben Black's monthly summary of everything you need to know about work+family - female leadership, flexible working, gender diversity and a bit of childcare and eldercare news to boot...



Childcare was in the headlines in November. The CBI called for an extension of the free childcare entitlement to be made available to all 1 to 4 year olds. Extending the free entitlement to younger children is sensible, but telling parents what type of childcare to use is wrong on every level. And yes, I've been ranting about it recently. Luckily Baroness Altmann is on the same wavelength - her call for care credits is exactly where the Govt. policy should end up.

Meanwhile, the British Chambers of Commerce found that one in four parents have reduced their working hours as a direct consequence of high childcare costs.

Working carers

The best employers extended the meaning of 'family-friendly', to include the ever-increasing numbers of working carers, a long time ago. The UK's biggest childcare charity, the Family and Childcare Trust, has now followed suit, releasing the Older People's Care Survey. Nothing startling in the results other than underlining what we know already - social care in the UK is massively under-funded and employers will have no choice but to step into the mix.

Elsewhere, the Local Govt. Ombudsman found that care home complaints had increased a whopping 25% in the last year.

Female leadership

The big news on the female leadership front was the launch of the Hampton-Alexander Review replacing the Davies Review. Davies was largely successful; its headline aim was 25% of female directors on FTSE boards. Truth be told, most FTSE boards are made up of non-execs rather than executive directors, so the harsh judgement on Davies would be that it was all a bit easy and a bit meaningless. Hampton-Alexander looks at executive boards and their direct reports across the FTSE 350. Far better aims and far more difficult ones as well. It is going to be a long journey.

The Chartered Management Institute's findings illustrated the massive female talent leakage at mid-manager levels across all industries. PwC was on message as well, looking at women returners, who often come back in positions below their potential. The cost to the economy is measured in £billions.

Flexible working

The younger generation really are a bit different. Boston College's "New Millennial Dads" found that 67% of new dads would bypass a promotion for a better work-life balance! And, somewhat surprisingly to those of us who have been through the sleepless nights, new dads seem much happier as well than their childless peers. No wonder that the Open University research showed that half of Welsh women wish they had chosen a more "male" career.

Slightly strange news

Somewhat bizarrely, Bono received a Woman of the Year award. But the strangest headline of the month was the news that trials of a male contraception pill had been cancelled. Apparently, the side effects included nausea and mood swings. Society isn't exactly treating men and women equally just yet...

Ben Black, My Family Care


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