WS Law consult Dr Javornik for report on flexible working
On 12 February Winkworth Sherwood Law (WS Law) published a report titled ‘Shifting attitudes to flexible working and childcare for working parents’ with specialist input from Dr Jana Javornik.
The report is based on a YouGov survey featuring 1000 employees and 500 senior HR decision makers, and draws on Dr Javornik’s expertise in the area of shared parental leave and flexible working.
The YouGov survey found that almost two-fifths of employees expect to take shared parental leave as gender roles continue to shift and attitudes to childcare and work evolve, a significant increase from the current 7% who said they have taken it so far. This led WS Law firm to recommend that employers brace for changing practices in parental leave to ‘attract and retain talent’.
Dr Javornik, Associate Professor of Work Employment Relations and also the Interim Director-General of Higher Education at the Government of Slovenia, stressed that the uptake of shared parental leave will depend on equal pay for fathers and mothers who will take parental leave, as well as the culture of organisations changing: whether workers will see taking shared parental leave as ‘available and acceptable’ at their organisation. Jana commented:
Employers will, however, need to make sure that, instead, they do not reduce extra-statutory rights for mothers, especially maternity pay, which we’ve seen happening.
While the issue of trusting employees to work effectively away from the office was raised by 23% of HR decision makers in the survey, Dr Javornik suggests that this lack of trust is driven by ‘a ‘narrow understanding of a sustainable and healthy workforce’. Jana continues that research demonstrates that people who are trusted to work flexible and away from the office ‘pay back with loyalty, extra hours, reduced absenteeism and increased retention’, as well as ensuring that ‘regular check in points’ between managers and employees could be made to override this concern.
The report concludes with five key recommendations centring on communication, culture and policies which allow for a mutually beneficial and trusting culture of flexible working, including shared parental leave, for all employees, to facilitate the changing attitudes and practices of the modern workforce.