WE celebrate Greens' leadership on job-sharing
Today the Women’s Equality Party welcomes the Green Party’s new, job-sharing leadership, following the announcement that former leader Caroline Lucas and work and pensions spokesperson Jonathan Bartley have been elected together to the role of Leader with 86% of first-preference votes.
“It’s fantastic to see the Greens putting flexible working front and centre - showing that there’s a way to do politics differently,” said Sophie Walker, Leader of the Women’s Equality Party. “Job sharing breaks down barriers that often prevent people from participating in the workplace - such as those with parenting or caregiving responsibilities, or those with disabilities. This new precedent helps to widen participation in our country’s politics.”
The Women’s Equality Party are striving to put flexible working at the centre of workplaces in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland with policies that would ensure job advertisements state the means of flexible working available for that role - making it the default, not the exception.
Walker added: “I’m delighted to see the Green Party elect Leaders with strong track records on gender equality, and very much look forward to working with Caroline and Jonathan to put women’s equality at the top of the political agenda.”
Jonathan Bartley has long campaigned for mandatory sex and relationships education in every school, while Caroline Lucas has a strong history of standing up for women in parliament - from challenging the government to deliver a joined-up strategy for tackling violence against women and girls, to taking a leading role in the 50:50 parliament campaign.
The Women’s Equality Party are committed to making flexible working the default, and are challenging other parties to take on their policies to achieve this:
Job adverts – starting with all those on the government’s own Universal Jobmatch platform and adverts posted by companies with 250 or more employees – will have to state what forms of flexible working the post is suitable for by means of a checklist: instead of opting in to job sharing, home working or flexible hours they will have to find a business reason for opting out.
Employees who submit a request for flexible working need to know it has been taken seriously. WE will permit them to submit a claim for unreasonable refusal of a request and for unreasonable refusal to offer a trial period - with compensation where this is proven to have taken place.
WE will require Local Enterprise Partnerships to support small businesses in their area with the initial costs of investing in remote working.
It is vital that those who work part-time or wish to return to work after having a baby are able to do so without harming their career or salary expectations. WE will promote internship/returners programmes for all ages, providing subsidies to high quality “returnship” programs based on the funding model for apprenticeships.