How family friendly is your working life?

HOW FAMILY FRIENDLY IS YOUR WORKING LIFE?

Findings from on-line survey of local labour party members.

Nearly half of Labour Party members in the two Oxford constituencies surveyed in 2013 about their working lives and caring responsibilities are satisfied with their work-life balance. But some working parents want better support when the children are ill, and more recognition of the demands of family life; for example, they should not be expected to attend work-related events in the evening. There was still ‘a lot to do to stop discrimination at work against women with children’ said one working mother. It was mothers who chiefly took responsibility for care.

Caring was mainly looking after pre and school-aged children, with a small number caring for disabled or elderly family members. And it was other family members who did most of the caring while the LP members were at work.

Most of those who responded to the survey work in the public sector, with less than a quarter in the private sector. Nearly 10% work in the third sector. Overall, the respondents reflected the main Oxford labour market features with nearly half working in education, followed by those working in IT and science, the health sector, and local government, often at professional levels. Over 80% said flexible working was available at their workplace which may account for the satisfaction levels reported. The most common methods were part time, flexible working, and home working. This satisfaction may also be linked to progressive public sector employers such as Oxford City Council which pays a living wage, working with the unions. Nevertheless, fewer than half said they were a trade union member. Some respondents wrote of their fears for worsening employment conditions as a result of cuts.

The survey was carried out on-line and emailed to around 600 members. There were 98 responses of which women were over two thirds. Ninety five per cent were white and five per cent Asian. Fourteen per cent reported they had a disability. Just over 10% were not in paid work and a further 10% were self-employed or freelance. A quarter were retired.

When asked ‘what one thing would you change about your working life?’, the most common response was fewer hours, followed by more control and job security, more flexibility, and more support.

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