Liz Truss makes call for flexible working to become the norm ahead of International Women’s Day but there’s no sign of government action to back it up
Cabinet minister Liz Truss has called for flexible working to become the norm.
The International Trade Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities made the call ahead of International Women’s Day on Monday. The theme for International Women’s Day is ‘choose to challenge’. Presumably Truss will challenge her fellow ministers at the Business Department to bring forward legislation to make flexible working a day one right soon.
New research from the Government Equalities Office has shown that jobs advertised with flexible options attract around 30% more applications. The research, which analysed nearly 20 million applications and is the largest of its kind ever conducted in the UK, shows greater transparency in job adverts would create at least 174,000 flexible jobs to the UK economy per year.
With more people working flexibly due to Covid, Truss argues now is the time to normalise it across the country. She believes the move will boost employment in areas away from major cities and help turbocharge opportunities for women – who are twice as likely as men to work flexibly.
Flexible working is shown to increase the productivity and morale of workers, and Truss says making it an option will help address the UK’s longstanding productivity gap and help level-up the country.
Minister for Women & Equalities, Liz Truss, said, “Our commitment to flexible working is based on our desire to open up employment opportunities to people regardless of their sex or location. The shift for many people to work from home during the pandemic has changed mindsets and now is a chance to seize the opportunity of making flexible working the norm, rather than something employees have to specially request.
“The fact is that for many jobs there are invisible restrictions that hold people back – like the need to live in high-cost accommodation close to the centre of cities or maintain working arrangements that are very hard to combine with family or other responsibilities.
“We now have the chance to break down these barriers and boost opportunities for everyone.”