Striking the Right Balance: How new Flexible Working and Childcare Developments could Revolutionise Careers

Could the Flexible Working Bill and more support for Early Years pave the way for more parents back to work?

At SpareMyTime we live and breathe flexible working – it’s the backbone to our business.  We are all masters of our time – we choose our hours, and we decide when and where to work them.   

As a result, we can pick our kids up from school, be around when they’re poorly and unpack the Sainsbury’s shop – all in the working day.

Although none of the team at SpareMyTime take this flexibility and control for granted, two recent developments – the new Flexible Working Bill and the expansion of free childcare hours have highlighted just how much others have had to fight to strike the right balance between working and managing personal commitments. 

The Right to Request Flexible Working

The new Flexible Working Bill which became law on 6 April means that all employees in the UK now have a default right to request flexible working from day one of employment.  This marks a significant shift in the power dynamic. Previously, employees had to present a strong case for why they needed flexible hours. Now, the onus is on employers to justify any rejection of a flexible working request.

The doors have been burst open for a much wider range of flexible work arrangements which might include part-time, compressed hours, flexitime, or homeworking. These options can significantly improve work-life balance, allowing individuals to manage childcare, look after elderly relatives or any other personal commitments more effectively.

More Support for Early Years with Expanded Free Childcare

The Government has also recently announced an expansion of free childcare hours. Currently all children aged 3 and above can claim 15 hours of free childcare a week but from April the scheme was expanded to include children from the age of 2 and it’s expected to include all children from 9 months from September.

Although the launch of the scheme has been far from plain sailing – blighted by a severe lack of nursery places, patchy accessibility and poor planning – the premise behind it is promising. This support has been expanded to enable parents, especially mothers, to return to work sooner or work more hours, boosting their careers and financial security.

I am a mum of three small boys aged 5, 3 and 22 months. I recently started working for SpareMyTime after realising that my previous career in PR simply wasn’t going to offer me the flexibility that I need at this point in my life. I’d been desperate to return to work for a while but struggled to find opportunities that would enable me to pick the children up from school, earn enough to warrant putting them in nursery, but also put my skillset to good use. It felt impossible! 

I feel so grateful that I found SpareMyTime; the sense of control that I have over when I work is empowering, I have peace of mind knowing that when my kids are ill, I can be around for them, but above everything, it just feels good to be working again. I really hope that the recent developments will help others in similar positions re-enter the workforce or request more flexible hours so that they too can strike a more balanced life.

A future where work and personal life can flourish side by side is certainly possible, and as a nation we’re hopefully heading in the right direction!

If you’re interested in joining the team at SpareMyTime click here for further information.

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