The TUC is asking ministers to do more to lift the burdens facing working mums this Mothers’ Day today (Sunday 14th March) by introducing five key new measures.
While the reopening of school has eased some of the burden mums face, there are ongoing pressures about getting enough childcare to cover hours at work, says the TUC.
Wraparound care such as breakfast and afterschool clubs is still limited if available, and school class bubbles may be sent home if a child tests positive for coronavirus.
Previous TUC polling has revealed that Covid-19 has had a huge impact on working mums over the last 12 months. The vast majority (90%) told the TUC that they have taken on more childcare responsibilities since the pandemic began.
Around 1 in 6 (16%) – mostly those in low-paid jobs – said that they have had no choice but to reduce their working hours to do so.
And another TUC survey found that nearly three-quarters of mums (71%) who asked for furlough to help them balance work and care had their requests refused, even though they were eligible.
Nearly all mums (90%) said that their anxiety and stress levels had increased during this latest lockdown.
Five key measures
The TUC is calling on the government to give mums a genuine Mothers’ Day present this Sunday, and introduce five measures to ensure no mum loses her job – and to help working mums balance the extra demands posed by the pandemic:
- A pay rise for all our key workers. Nearly 2 in 5 (38%) key workers are paid less than £10 an hour, and most of them are women. Around 2.5 million women key workers earn under £10 an hour.
- An increase in statutory sick pay to at least the level of the real Living Wage, for everyone in work. 1.3 million women workers earn too little to get any sick pay. Raising it from £95.85 to real Living Wage of £320 per week and making everyone eligible will ensure workers can afford to self-isolate if they need to.
- Bring in an entitlement to 10 days parental leave per year for each child, on full pay. Currently parents have no legal right to paid leave to look after their children.
- Introduce a right to genuine flexible work, from the first day in a job. Flexible working includes having predictable or set hours, working from home, job-sharing, working compressed hours and term-time only working.
- Increase funding for childcare. A third of nurseries in the most disadvantaged areas may be forced to close. Ministers must increase funding to the childcare sector to keep nurseries open and make sure working mums and dads can find the childcare they need.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“Women have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic, both on the front line in key worker roles and at home.
“Working mums have picked up the lion share of caring responsibilities while schools have been closed, with many giving up hours and pay to do so. We now risk turning the clock back on generations of progress women have made at work.
“This crisis has to be a turning point. Mums deserve so much more. We can’t allow these inequalities to take root as we emerge from the pandemic.
“Ministers need to introduce a range of measures to get women back into work, keep them in the workplace and help them cope with the extra demands posed by the crisis – or gender equality could be set back decades and women’s and children’s poverty could soar.”
– TUC polling published in January 2021 revealed 7 in 10 mums who asked for furlough had their requests turned down. And that nearly all (90%) said that their anxiety and stress levels had increased during this latest lockdown:
– TUC polling published in September 2020 revealed that the majority (90%) of working mums said they have taken on more childcare responsibilities since the pandemic began. And that 1 in 6 (16%) – mostly those in low-paid jobs – said that they have had no choice but to reduce their working hours to do this: