North Beds NASUWT

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Women teachers denied access to flexible working

Nearly half of women teachers who have requested flexible working have had their request denied by their employer, a women’s conference organised by the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, has heard.

Hundreds of women teachers from across the country gathered in Birmingham today (Saturday 3 October) for the NASUWT’s annual Women Teachers’ Consultation Conference to discuss the challenges they face and to attend a series of professional development workshops.

Some of the most serious concerns raised were about the lack of support for flexible working, the frequency of requests being declined and the expectations placed on those who do work part-time to maintain full-time responsibilities.

A real-time electronic poll of attendees at the Conference found that:

  • Three quarters of schools did not have a flexible working policy;
  • Less than one in ten (8.3%) women teachers feel that flexible working requests are encouraged in their schools;
  • Of those who had made a flexible working request over 45% had had their request declined;
  • More than half (50.3%) did not believe that colleagues in their school working reduced hours had been given a ‘workable’ timetable;
  • Over half (52%) said there was an expectation that colleagues working reduced hours would still attend the same number of parents’ evening, INSET training days and staff meetings as full time colleagues;
  • Nearly a third (30.1%) felt that they or a workplace colleague had been discriminated against by having flexible workplace requests denied;
  • While over a third (33.3%) also believed that they or a workplace colleague had been discriminated against by being given unworkable timetables.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“The experiences shared by women teachers today, demonstrates that discrimination against and exploitation of women teachers is rife.

“Women are being denied their rights to flexible working. Spurious arguments, feeble excuses and blatant discrimination are being used to turn down requests.

“Even when women are granted flexibility the unfairness and exploitation continues with many teachers still expected to undertake work related activities on days they are not supposed to be working, invariably without payment.

“These poor exploitative management practices flourish because government fails to secure compliance and has in fact created a climate in which equality and the rights of workers are seen as unimportant.”

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This entry was posted on October 7, 2015 by in The NASUWT.

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