Time off for dependants (TOFD) and special leave � a woman’s burden

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2020 National Women's Conference
23 October 2019

From birth society has always set the role of women at home and in the workplace. While this has been challenged and continues to be, there is still a long way to go. Society still sees women as the main care giver and this may be why some types of leave that is predominately utilised by working women is unpaid. Mothers with children aged between 1 and 12 are more likely to be in part-time employment rather than full time, 1.8million couples in the UK split employment so that the father is in full-time work and the mother in part-time work. This may be why more women request TOFD as the impact to household income is reduced. This is not the case however for single mothers or a single woman with caring responsibilities, a day off without pay to look after a child or loved one has a significant financial impact. For women on low incomes this could be the difference between putting food on the table and heating the home. Surprisingly, while looking for information for this motion, we found that there are no studies around the impact or cost of unpaid leave on working women in the UK. There are statistics on the cost of caring responsibilities but the stats exclude time taken off during working hours. The stats do not include time off work to take a loved one to an appointment or a child unable to go to school due to illness. Since Gender pay reporting became compulsory in 2017, most reports seem to mirror each other, be it public or private sector, Health or manufacturing, low paid and part-time work is predominantly carried out by women. As a society, we need to address this, we need to ensure that women are not disadvantage for taking time off to care for others, we need to make it ok for men to take an active and equal role, we need to remove unconscious bias during interviews and employment or promotion is based to ability to carry out the job and not the amount of hours a person can commit. We need to ensure work life balance means work life balance and employers are not turning a blind eye to work carried out over an employee�s contract hours without being monitored and recorded.Conference asks the Womens National committee to:1)Work with labour link to Lobby government and the labour party to carry out a national study on the impacts of unpaid leave on women and publish the findings.2)Work with labour link to lobby government and the labour party to revisit legislation on all types of unpaid leave with the view making all leave paid.3)Work with the NEC to create a campaign on unpaid leave including a survey to collate data around the impacts.