Family-friendly Working

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th October 2018.

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Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Labour/Co-operative, Manchester Central 12:00 am, 16th October 2018

What steps he is taking to support the provision of family-friendly working practices.

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

I am proud that BEIS supports all its employees with comprehensive family-friendly policies. More widely, employees are entitled to a suite of family rights and protections, and we are looking to go further. We are considering requiring employers to assess whether a job can be done flexibly and to make that clear when advertising. We will also consult on a proposal to require large employers to publish their parental leave and pay policies.

Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Labour/Co-operative, Manchester Central

I have just come from the Education Select Committee, where we heard from Pepper the robot, who could perhaps help us all give better answers to questions.

Does the Minister agree that one of the keys to unlocking the gender pay gap and family-friendly working practices is to raise the esteem in which part-time workers are held, so that they have the same pay, career progression and investment in training as other employees, and that perhaps if more fathers worked part time, we might raise that esteem further?

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The hon. Lady raises an important point. Part-time workers are a valuable part of our economy, and it is right that they be held in the same esteem as full-time workers. With our policies and announcements on flexible working, I hope that the Government can strengthen this and deliver what she seeks.