Flexible working for parents returning to work

Maintaining career development

Mercer M |   | Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) | Sep 2017

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This IES report, produced on behalf of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), considers the impact that the way organisations manage staff returning to work from parental leave can have on career progression, gender stereotypes and the gender pay gap.

The research aimed to establish both how organisations are managing flexible working following an extended period of leave, and how organisations' flexible working arrangements (FWA) impact on career development and the factors such as equal pay.

The report, authored by principal associate, Mary Mercer, offers valuable guidance for employers drawn from the purposive evidence review and a series of case studies with organisations offering best practice in managing FWA.

Insights include:

  • the important role of line managers in effectively managing people who work flexibly;

  • the benefits of developing specific schemes to support and encourage returners;

  • managing performance and the fairness of the system - rewarding outcomes over presenteeism;

  • the business benefits of FWA, as previously highlighted by IES research in this area; and

  • the need to equalise opportunities for paid leave for mothers and fathers, actively encouraging fathers to take leave.

For a brief summary of the key findings from IES, click here.