union for life

Childcare and work-life balance

Campaigning for work-life balance

We want all members to have the opportunity to develop and achieve in their working lives whilst successfully balancing home and work, and we have made formal submissions to the government setting out our policies on work and parents.

We have identified the following three priorities:

  • Enhanced maternity leave and paternity/maternity support leave with pay, enabling parents to spend valuable time with their baby. This would benefit the health and well-being of parents as well as their babies

  • Rights for both parents and carers to work reduced or flexible hours, encouraging a balance between home and work responsibilities. This should be a statutory right, since it has been shown that voluntary practices do not work.

  • Paid parental leave and shared parental leave with flexible implementation, also allowing parents to balance home and work responsibilities.

Prospect has produced guidance for negotiators and representatives on the alternative working patterns available  which contribute to good work-life balance policies, including  good practice  checklists and examples of where  the policies work well.

We have also produced guidance on the extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees.  All employees now  have the right to request flexible working  -  whether this is a change in working hours, working patterns or their work location -  for any reason at all, not just caring responsibilities. Our guidance on flexible working and work-life balance has been brought together into a model policy to assist negotiators and reps.

Prospect has produced guidance on childcare vouchers and salary sacrifice schemes - see the resources below. 

Advice is available on negotiating good quality childcare at your workplace, members and reps should log-in to download a copy.

Shared Parental Leave

The provisions under the Children and Families Act introducing shared parental leave and pay came into effect on 1 December 2014. The provisions will apply for children born or adopted on or after 5 April 2015.

Shared parental leave will enable eligible parents to share up to 50 weeks leave and will allow them flexibility to decide whether they take it in turns to take the time off to look after the child or to be off work at the same time. The amount of paid leave available mirrors the statutory maternity leave arrangements: i.e. 39 weeks available at the statutory minimum pay and 13 weeks unpaid leave - less the 2 weeks compulsory leave directly following the birth/adoption.

However, there are some complex eligibility criteria, as well as notification requirements involved in using the new SPL rights. See our advice and guidance in Equality Briefing No 37.


The TUC has produced guidance on Time off and pay for adoptive parents – covering rights to time off to attend adoption appointments, adoption leave and pay, paternity leave and pay, SPL, unpaid parental leave, flexible working and time off for emergencies.


The TUC has produced guidance on Time off and pay for parents having a child through surrogacy – covering rights to time off to attend ante-natal appointments, rights to adoption leave and pay, paternity leave and pay, SPL, unpaid parental leave, flexible working and time off for emergencies.

Bereavement and the Workplace

Prospect has been supporting Lucy Herd, of Jack’s Rainbow, in her campaign for a statutory right to paid bereavement leave. Over the past 12 months Lucy, together with others like Cruse Bereavement Care, have been working with ACAS to develop new workplace guidance on dealing with bereavement in the workplace. The new guidance “Managing bereavement in the workplace - a good practice guide” has recently been published by ACAS.

Prospect has also produced guidance for our members and reps in Equality Briefing No 35

Equality briefings, resources and digests

Equality Briefings provide advice and guidance on a range of equalities issues and a Briefing has been produced with links to Prospect's resources for equality, including our guides, posters and leaflets etc. Equality Digests alert representatives and members of equality networks to recent circulars, newsletters, email alerts, events etc. If the latest Digest is not highlighted in the downloadable resources underneath, click on the link below

Resources for Equality

Equality Digests

Downloadable resources (listed by document type)

Government must heed “free” childcare warnings   info
 15 June 2016 

Letter from Holyrood Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop to Alan Denney   info
 17 March 2016 

12 Parental and family leave   info
 15 October 2015 

Pregnancy discrimination rife in workplaces   info
 24 July 2015 

Prospect Press   info
 01 May 2015 

Prospect Press newsletter   info
 10 March 2015 

Legal rights   info
 11 February 2015 

Shared Parental Leave   info
 27 January 2015 

0387 - Shared parental leave and pay   info
 28 November 2014 

BT makes up missing maternity pension contributions   info
 29 April 2013 

Prospect seeks views on parental leave proposals   info
 18 April 2013 

Ministers must listen on nursery ratios   info
 22 March 2013 

Ministers must listen on childcare ratios   info
 22 March 2013 

16 Part-time and flexible working   info
 07 June 2010 

13 Maternity rights   info
 30 October 2009 

0249 Employment Law Changes - From 1 October 2008   info
 06 October 2008