Ben Black, CEO, My Family Care

Work+Family Summary: April 2017

Ben Black, CEO, My Family Care

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Regular work+family updates for
HR and diversity professionals.

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...


April was a slightly quiet month on the Work+Family front - maybe Brexit and early elections have taken up too much of the airtime.

Childcare and the election

The election does seem to have focussed a few people's minds on the forthcoming changes to the way childcare in the UK is funded. Tax free childcare is definitely coming and vouchers will gradually be phased out over the next few years.

It's probably good in the long run but there is so much more a brave government with a large majority could do. Allowing working parents to spend the money on any and all forms of childcare would be brilliant for everyone; and extending the scheme to cover working carers, well that would be joined up Govt thinking beyond our wildest dreams.

Meanwhile the car-crash that is the promise of 30 free hours of nursery care is beginning to take shape. The latest findings from the National Day Nurseries Association suggests that less than half of all nurseries will opt into the scheme.

Dads and Shared Parental Leave

If we ever get to a truly gender-equal society then men need to do more of the parenting. SPL is a huge part of the mix and that's why its success is a fundamental litmus test. When it comes to SPL our very own JLS (Jennifer Liston-Smith) is very much leading commentator.

The latest research on the two-year anniversary of SPL's introduction illustrates the progress - yes take-up remains disappointingly low BUT it is growing slowly. And more and more fathers and employers are showing us just how to make it a success. We will get there in the end. Have a look at these great case studies from a selection of our clients for real-life examples of how it can work for everyone.

Whilst we are on dads I was interested to see the Women's Equality Party fielding a candidate in Shipley against the Donald-Trump loving Philip Davies who they accuse of being the worst kind of old-school misogynist. I think they need to be careful.  Standing up for dads and hating women are not two halves of the same equation - even if there are plenty of other areas to attack him on.

Work-life and baby-boomers

Fascinating research in April from Ashridge and published by HR Magazine. We've known for a bit that millennials care passionately about things like purpose and balance. It seems that work-life and flexibility is becoming the priority for baby-boomers as well is pretty much all of us have realised that in some jobs and with some employer's flexibility is real possibility. Being judged on results and outputs - the dream gets ever closer. Although here in the UK we are still clearly doing a lot of things wrong. Apparently Danish babies cry a lot less than their British equivalents... hmmm.

Recent winners and losers

Ilie Nastase was April's big loser managing to be racist and woman-hating in the same week. He was a pretty horrible piece of work in his playing pomp and time does not seem to have softened any of his boorish tendencies. He seemed most upset about being held to account by a journalist - a female one to boot - and the threat of being banned from Wimbledon. Quite right too.

And April's winner? Millicent Fawcett is to have her statue erected in Parliament Square. She was an amazing woman who achieved fantastic things for the advancement of women. And not before time that a woman joins the 11 men whose lives are already recognised by Parliament Square statues. Every little helps.

Elsewhere - long journey towards equal pay

The FT reported that women now hold 25% of senior banking roles. The women's Irish football team threatened to go on strike about unequal treatment.

Gender Pay Gap reporting in now live - although most companies won't have to show anything until April next year. Expect lots more news on this in the forthcoming months. We are on a long journey.

And finally, the Times published its list of the 50 Top Employers for Women. No fewer than 23 of our My Family Care clients made the list. Congratulations to one and all.

Ben Black

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Regular work+family updates for
HR and diversity professionals.