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Fifth of working parents report unfair treatment during pandemic, charity warns

Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent
·1-min read

One in five working families believe they have been treated less fairly at work because of their childcare responsibilities during the virus crisis, new research suggests.

Work-life balance charity Working Families said its survey of 746 working parents found those working part-time are more likely to feel they have been treated differently since the start of the pandemic.

The charity said its poll underpins its call for caring responsibilities to be covered in the Equality Act, providing a legal foundation to tackle workplace discrimination against parents and carers.

Jane van Zyl, chief executive of Working Families, said: “At the height of lockdown, the Prime Minister made clear that parents must be ‘defended and protected’ if they are unable to work because they cannot get the childcare they need.

“But there is currently no legal or regulatory mechanism to defend or protect working parents in the way the Prime Minister has suggested.

“In terms of childcare, we are certainly not back to ‘business as usual’ – since schools reopened in September, parents have continued to struggle, managing staggered school times, gaps in wraparound care provision, and the ever-present risk of being required to self-isolate.

“With millions of parents facing unfair treatment at work just for having caring responsibilities, and waves of Covid-related redundancies around the corner, now is the time for the Government to act and make being a parent or carer a protected characteristic.”