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THE RIGHT to request flexible working conditions had not led to the creation of more flexible jobs for Scottish women, according to a new report.

Published today by the expert policy advocacy organisation Close the Gap, which campaigns to close the gender pay gap, ‘Flexible Working for All: The impact of the right to request regulations in Scotland’ concludes that there is no overall evidence to suggest an increase in formal flexible working since its extension under statutory Right to the Request Flexible Working legislation in 2014.

The report also notes that there has been a 29 per cent reduction in the use of term-time working and a 35 per cent reduction in job-sharing – both of which are overwhelmingly done by women. Additionally, female parents are still six times more likely to work part-time than male parents, with most of that part-time work coming from lower-paid jobs and sectors.

The research also reaffirms prior evidence on the limitations of the current law surrounding flexible working and its impact on women’s workplace equality. Employees must be in their jobs for six months before making a flexible working request, which presents difficulties for women seeking to move to new jobs.

This barrier is further compounded by the very low proportion of jobs that are advertised as being available for flexible working. Only 12 per cent of jobs paying more than £20,000 are advertised as having flexible working options, which particularly affects women who are returning to employment after taking time out to care.

However, there has been an increase in home-working and flexi-time, by 23 per cent and 3 per cent respectively. These are used equally by men and women.

Upon the report’s publication, Close the Gap has called for a “step change in workplace culture”, and called upon employers to consider ten recommendations that have been informed by the findings of their research.



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