Employment: Females

(asked on 29th June 2015) - View Source


To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the Country-Specific Recommendations prepared by the European Commission, which found that there are too few women engaged in full-time work in the United Kingdom.

Answered by
Baroness Neville-Rolfe Portrait
Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
This question was answered on 13th July 2015

The Government takes note of the Commission’s findings and recommendations. Latest Labour Market Statistics showed female employment in the UK is at its highest ever rate (68.6%), which makes it the 5th highest female employment rate in the EU.

The Government is committed to helping working women and families. In the last Parliament legislation was enacted which enables eligible working parents to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay where the mother ends her maternity leave and/or her maternity pay early so that she can opt into the new Shared Parental Leave and Pay system with the child’s father or her partner. All employees who have 26 weeks continuous service with their employer in the UK also now have the right to request flexible working. These measures enable eligible employees to better balance work with other commitments, including childcare.

The UK Government is also providing women and families with additional childcare support:

- Currently funding 15 hours a week of free childcare for all 3 and 4 year olds, and for the 40% most disadvantaged 2 year olds.

- Committing to giving working parents of 3 and 4 year olds 30 hours of free childcare a week, with implementation starting in some areas in September 2016.

- Providing support for childcare costs of people on lower incomes, up to 70% of costs under the childcare element on working tax credits, which will rise to 85% from April 2016 under Universal Credit.

- Introducing Tax Free Childcare which will provide up to 1.8 million families across the UK with up to £2,000 of childcare support per year, per child.

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