Employees should be able to work flexibly from the day they start their jobs, Labour demands today.
The party will unveil plans to shake-up employment rights if it wins power, giving workers the option from day one.
Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary Dawn Butler will say: “Women do the vast majority of unpaid care, but this must not be a barrier to women in work – that’s why I’m announcing Labour’s plans to introduce rights to flexible working from day one of employment.
“This change to the law is essential to closing the gender pay gap and dismantling the structural barriers that hold women back from promotion and progression.
“It may also result in more men taking on caring responsibilities themselves, finally lightening the load that women bear.
“Under Labour’s plans, no woman will be shut out of the workplace because they’re a mum or they care for a parent or a disabled loved one, or both.
“We need an economy that works for women, not against us.”
Women are more likely to request flexible working, according to Office of National Statistics.
Figures show about 46% of women are “sandwich carers’, who look after young children and elderly or disabled relatives, and feel unable to work or do as many hours as they want.
Under the existing Flexible Working Regulations 2014 all employees with 26 weeks of continuous service, have the right to request flexible working once every 12 months.
But bosses can reject a requests if they do so “in a reasonable manner”.
The plan, which will be launched at Labour’s Women’s Conference in Telford, Shrops, includes letting staff work from home or do variable hours.