Working Families: Making work WORK for parents in Scotland

Working Families offers a unique service to parents needing advice about their employment rights and in-work benefits.  Our free legal helpline advisers have particular expertise in maternity and paternity rights and flexible working.  We support over 3,000 disadvantaged parents and carers a year.  We also run a support network for parents of disabled children who work or wish to work.

Our legal advice service enables parents to understand whether the problem they are facing at work is unlawful or discriminatory, weigh up their options, negotiate effectively with their employer and resolve their employment issues wherever possible.  Led by an employment lawyer, we support parents taking claims to tribunals when other solutions have failed. Parents report that our service gives them greater confidence about asserting their needs and rights at work:

'I basically didn't know the law and I thought work was right and I had to go along with it. Working Families gave me lots of legal advice so that I could go back to work and negotiate.'

'Even if you really believe that you are being discriminated against, there's still a massive part of you that's saying actually it's probably just me, it's probably not actual discrimination. And then when you talk to someone else about it who knows what they are talking about, it gave me so much more confidence and self-belief that if I spoke up, I wouldn't just be dismissed, that I had a genuine point.'

Our website contains answers to simple questions which new parents ask - how much maternity pay will I get?  When should I tell my employer I'm pregnant?  Am I entitled to additional paternity leave?  How do I ask for flexible working?  Sample letters and a guide to asking for flexible working arrangements are popular resources.

Professionals advising parents may find our factsheet on 'benefits and employment rights when you have a child' useful.

You can print off as many copies as you need (but always print the factsheet from the website so you have the most up to date version as the law changes frequently).

Many callers face complex problems at work for example, discrimination due to pregnancy or maternity, inflexible hours that don't fit with childcare, or employers imposing changes to contracts at short notice.  These parents benefit from the tailored individual advice our team offers and can call free on 0300 012 0312 or email their queries to

'Working Families told me what to write and what the procedure was which really helped. Without them, I wouldn't have had a job to come back to and wouldn't have had the confidence to present my case'

'They were very objective and really knowledgeable and professional. They reassured me and made me feel less stressed. I felt I wasn't alone and that the law was on my side.'

We are keen to expand our reach to help more parents in Scotland: please signpost employment queries to our helpline team to keep more parents in work and out of poverty.