The Holyrood Equal Opportunities Committee has today released a report on Women and Work which claims women are still “swimming against the tide” when it comes to equal opportunities at work.
Committee convener Mary Fee MSP said: “We believe there is a clear leadership role for the public sector and all jobs in the Scottish Government’s direct control should be advertised as suitable for flexible working or part-time basis.”
The government should also encourage other public sector employers to follow suit, said the report. Other suggestions included: that funding streams could incorporate a flexible working requirement of the organisation receiving the money; education for resistant middle managers; and that employers should be encouraged to recruit in varied units of time, not just 35-40 hours. The committee also said employers should be encouraged to use language demonstrating their openness to flexible working arrangements when advertising for jobs.
However, the committee said childcare is a key problem when it comes to equality. It has called on the Scottish government to outline a timetable for the introduction of a statutory right to childcare for children up to the age of 15.
“Childcare is at the heart of this, together with the outdated presumption that women alone will shoulder the greatest responsibility for that childcare and the knock-on effect that has on women and work,” said Fee.
The committee condemned the practice of using zero hours contracts (where employers do not guarantee a minimum payment or number or hours) as “utterly unacceptable”.
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