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Fewer than one in eight parents happy with work-life balance

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Poll reveals working parents are missing out on family time because of job commitments

Fewer than one in eight working parents in Scotland feel they have the right balance between home and work life, a poll has revealed.

The survey, for Family Friendly Working Scotland (FFWS), found just 12% of adults with both jobs and children said their work-life balance was “just right”.

Money was also a concern for working parents, with only 22% feeling they had the right balance of time and money for their family to thrive.

In many cases, inflexible working arrangements were blamed for placing additional pressures on families, causing parents to miss school plays or even their children’s bedtimes.

Families need both time and money to thrive, yet less than a quarter of parents we surveyed said they have this

The poll showed four in ten working parents would work more flexible hours if they could, while nearly a third (31%) would like to go home on time more often and nearly a quarter (22%) felt pressured to work past their regular hours.

One third of parents said work interfered with their ability to help with homework and 44% said their job had led to them missing important events involving their children.

The survey also found 27% of working parents in Scotland worked more than two extra unpaid hours each week, which equates to working an extra 2.5 weeks a year.

FFWS, a coalition of voluntary organisations and the Scottish Government, is now encouraging parents and their employers to take part in National Work Life Week to explore more flexible working options and find a better work life balance.

Nikki Slowey, the coalition’s programme director, said: "Families need both time and money to thrive, yet less than a quarter of parents we surveyed said they have this.

“As parents we want to support our children through the many milestones in their lives, whether that's starting school, starring in their school play or preparing for important exams.

"But balancing this support alongside the demands of work can be very challenging, especially if your employer gives you little or no flexibility, or shows no understanding.

"Our research shows flexible hours are the number one desire among working parents. What's more, it also shows workers feel more motivated and productive if flexible working is possible, so there's a clear benefit to business too.”

Mark McDonald, minister for childcare and early years, said: “The Scottish Government is determined to do all we can to ensure Scotland’s workplaces offer flexible working arrangements so parents can achieve a balance that suits their family life, and employers can benefit from improved rates of loyalty and productivity.

“National Work Life Week is a great opportunity for employers and employees to test new ways of working that deliver better outcomes for our families and our workforce.”

National Work Life Week runs from October 3 to 7, 2016.



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