There is need for flexible working plans – which includes mobile working and working from virtual offices – for both male and female parents, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).
The coalition government is currently consulting on new policies regarding the practice of flexible working in all job sectors in the UK.
Dalia Ben-Galim, of the IPPR, said that flexible working would go a long way to improving maternity and paternity leave.
Ms Ben-Galim said: “Parental leave schemes need to provide equitable choices for men and women to work and care. The ‘motherhood penalty’ means that the way maternity leave and pay are configured makes a significant difference to the choices women and men make, and the level of pay is critical in this.”
She also added that flexible working would help rectify the current problem of female unemployment.
Her comments come on the back of the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, which revealed there were 1.56 million people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in July 2011, up 37,100 on June.
This is the largest monthly increase in this series since May 2009. The number of men claiming JSA increased by 21,500 to reach 1.05 million and the number of women claimants increased by 15,600 to reach 512,700, the highest figure since April 1996.