Social media stars join pressure groups in campaign for more flexible working
Working dads advocate Papa Pukka has thrown his weight behind a new campaign to normalise flexible working.
The social media star, who has over 40,000 followers on Instagram, and his wife who goes by the name Mother Pukka online have teamed up with a range of organisations on the ‘Flex For All’ campaign.
The pair – otherwise known as Matt Farquharson and Anna Whitehouse – already run the Flex Appeal campaign aimed at increasing the availability and take up of flexible working.
The latest move which involves The Fatherhood Institute, feminist outfit The Fawcett Society and Pregnant Then Screwed – an organisation campaigning against maternity discrimination – calls for all jobs to be advertised on flexible terms.
Currently just one in 10 jobs are advertised as flexible. Yet research shows nine in 10 workers want the option to work flexibly.
Working dads are particularly affected. Most flexible working requests from men are turned down, whereas most of those submitted by women are accepted. Jeremy Davies of The Fatherhood Institute explained his organisation’s participation in the Flex For All alliance. “Although men are consistently shown in surveys to be the most dissatisfied with their work-life balance, we hear from lots of dads that flexible working still feels like a distant dream for them. We need flexibility to be the default rather than something senior bosses do in secret.”
The campaigners have drawn up on an online petition to gather support. The petition, directed to Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, calls for legislative change. It asks the Government to change the law so that when recruiting a role, an employer will be legally obliged to consider how the position can be done flexibly and to publish the flexible working options available when advertising the position. This will give individuals the information they need to decide if the job suits their work-life balance and will help employers attract a wider range of quality candidates.
Through the Flex Appeal campaign Matt and Anna have already given a TED Talk viewed by thousands as well as organising flash mobs in support of their aims and hosting a podcast series. Mother Pukka Anna Whitehouse said, “Flex For All is not a bonus ball, a nice to have or a ping pong table in reception; it’s a fundamental shift in the way we work. If companies are truly dedicated to recruiting a diverse and inclusive workforce then flexibility is the key.”
The Flex for All team have secured parliamentary support for their aims. A new law will be introduced for debate in parliament later this month. It’s unlikely to pass but it will put the issue in the spotlight.
Tory MP and vice-chair of the Conservative Party Helen Whately who is backing the bill said, “The 40-hour, five day working week no longer reflects the reality of how many modern families live their lives. The Flexible Working Bill, which is being introduced in parliament on July 16 would make all jobs flexible by default unless the employer had a sound business reason against it. I hope the government will back this campaign because flexible working is the future.”