A survey by the charity Working Families recently found that parents are reluctantly putting their careers on hold to deal with family time pressures.

When family finances are already being stretched, we must ensure that people do not have to halt their careers or slow down their progression at work because they are not available because of family duties.

The fact is, one of the best ways to make thriving at work compatible with a busy and full family life is to embrace the benefits of flexible working.

There is a common misconception that flexible working simply means working remotely. While this can certainly be a great help in ensuring that parents are home in time for jobs like school pick-up, flexible working also includes brilliant other ways of working, like flexible hours and job shares. For example, a parent might find it easier to start work later, allowing them to drop their children off at school, or they might like to share their job with a colleague and work three days a week, saving them a great deal of money on childcare.

Ham & High: MP Tulip Siddiq says that flexible working means parent won't have to put careers on holdMP Tulip Siddiq says that flexible working means parent won't have to put careers on hold (Image: Tulip Siddiq)

While plenty of people already benefit from access to such practices, including fantastic examples in Hampstead and Kilburn that I have been proud to champion, too many people are not given the option. In fact, the Trades Union Congress found that one in three requests to work flexibly are turned down and too many job adverts do not indicate what flexible working options the employer provides.

This is why I have been delighted to join with Working Families to form the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Flexible and Family-Friendly Working, which will bring together charities, experts, parliamentarians, and working people to promote the values of expanding flexible working rights.

It will be fantastic to hear examples of the effectiveness of flexible working directly from businesses and employees.

I was proud to put forward an amendment to Yasmin Qureshi MP’s fantastic Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act, coming into force in April 2024, which ensures that all employees have the right to flexible working from day one of employment. There is, however, more to be done.

I firmly believe that extending access to flexible working measures to as many workers as possible is of considerable benefit both to employer and employee and will lead to greater retention, satisfaction, and work-life balance.

  • Tulip Siddiq is Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn.