Work-Life Balance and Women

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2004 Local Government Service Group Conference
27 February 2004
Carried as Amended

This Conference is concerned that women in predominately low paid jobs in Local Government are being denied access to work life balance/flexible working. Work/life balance is about introducing greater flexibility in the way people go about their work. Balancing work and family is one of the most important issues facing women in the 21st century. This is all very well unless you happen to be employed as a school cook, cleaner or classroom assistant.

Women know only too well the demands that are placed on them when trying to juggle work, caring responsibilities and carrying out union activities. But women are still being denied access to this policy because some employers think if a woman works part time she should be able to manage her responsibilities outside of her working hours. This is unacceptable and discriminatory towards women who work in low paid, part time jobs. Women should not be made to feel guilty or under pressure. Achieving work life balance goes beyond childcare responsibilities. It is acknowledged that women are the primary carers in society today.

Employers need to introduce work life balance/flexible working because evidence shows that workers in the UK are still working the longest hours in Europe. Many women working in low paid work have more than one job. Some employers also place pressure on their workers to opt out of the 48 hours working time rule.

Work life balance can only bring benefits to organisations, it’s not about working less but working differently.

This Conference therefore calls on the Local Government Service Group to:

1)Promote the concept of work life balance to all Local Government branches

2)Work with the Employers’ Organisation to update the NJC joint guidance ‘Finding the Balance: Work-Life Policies in Practice’. The revised guidance should build on current legislation and the Local Government Pay Commission recommendations on work-life balance to ensure that work-life balance benefits all workers and improvements to service delivery.

3)Work with Labour Link to lobby the Government to ensure that every effort is made to promote work life balance policies with employers so that they respond to the needs of the workforce