We have a huge opportunity over the next few weeks. The government is currently consulting trade unions, businesses and workers for their views on whether the law should be reformed to strengthen the right to work flexibly, and support the needs of working families.
Currently, only employees have the right to request to work flexibly (for example requesting a job share) once they have 26 weeks’ continuous service, and this request can be rejected.
Equity’s stance is clear: flexibility at work is good for our members, and for the industry. It supports the needs of parents and carers and reflects the massive change to working practices that have arisen as a result of the lockdown.
Equity has submitted proposals as part of the consultation exercise. We argue that the right to work flexibly should be extended to workers, not just employees. Additionally, for those working families that are self-employed, the government must improve access to flexible, affordable childcare, while extending the right to shared parental leave and pay. We also propose that employers should be required to review all jobs to determine if they can be undertaken flexibly (e.g. on a job share basis) and that where flexible work is an option this should be stated in any job advert.
We know that our members are the answer to enabling the entertainment industry to get fully operational following the lockdown. This though requires better support from employers and government.
You can submit your own views to the government (the deadline is 1 December) on the government website.
"Flexible work is an equality issue"
Kelly Burke, Chair of Equity's Women's Committee, said:
"The ability to work flexibly is essential for so many Equity members, particularly for parents, carers, and our Deaf and disabled members. However, as self-employed workers, we currently lack the same rights as other workers — including the right to request flexible working, and the right to equal parental leave and pay.
Flexible work is an equality issue. Women, carers, and Deaf and Disabled members are being kept out of work and prevented from receiving the same pay, resources and support as employees. Please, participate in the consultation and let the government know that the self-employed deserve the same rights as employees. Flexible work is essential for access and equality — whether we are self-employed or not."