Family friendly working

Balancing the needs of family with working life is hard for many families.

Parenting across Scotland believes that along with good support for families and childcare, family friendly working is part of making sure that families can thrive. This is why, together with Working Families, Fathers Network Scotland and the Scottish Government, we formed the partnership, Family Friendly Working Scotland, to work with employers to make it easier to combine work with family life.

Family Friendly Working Scotland

We want to support parents to have a positive work-life balance which comes through secure sustainable employment opportunities and economic security for their families.  

While work is important for so many reasons – personal satisfaction, getting out of poverty, contributing to the economy - combining work with home life can be a stressful experience for many families. Finding childcare and fitting work around family life can make parenting difficult and increase stress. Even small changes to working life can make a big difference to working families.

Modern Families Index (MFI) 2015 Scotland highlighted that in many workplaces work is not organised in a family friendly way:

  • 41% of parents said that work-life balance is becoming increasingly stressful
  • over a quarter felt constantly torn between work and family
  • over a third felt this affected their family life

Improving work-life balance helps parents by reducing stress in families’ lives so that they have more time, and are less stressed. Increasing flexibility can help parents, particularly lone parents, stay in work and ensure that they have an improved income and stay out of poverty. Additionally, flexible working for parents can mean that both parents can spend more time with their family and take a more equal part in raising their children.

Apart from the undoubted benefits to families of ‘smart’ or ‘family friendly’ working, the business case is also well evidenced. Firms which have adopted ‘family friendly’ working policies have seen benefits in terms of a larger pool to recruit from, better return rates after maternity leave, decrease absentee rates, better staff retention and higher levels of satisfaction. Other benefits include productivity, motivation and employee engagement.

There are a number of ways that employers can make their workplaces more family friendly. These include:

  • maternity, paternity and shared leave
  • parental leave
  • flexible working

Scottish Top Employers for Working Families Awards

Family Friendly Working Scotland runs the Scottish Top Employers for Working Families awards. The Awards celebrate progressive employers that have successfully embedded family friendly and flexible working practices. The awards recognise best practice, innovation and sustainability.

Research and reports

Family Friendly Working Scotland and Working Families have produced a number of reports including:

  • Modern Families Index 2015
  • Fathers in the early years
  • Kinship carers and employment: barriers and opportunities

Many more reports including Lifecycles, Off Balance and the Helpline report can be accessed on the Working Families website.

Helpline for working families

Parents who have problems at work can call the Working Families advice line on 0300 012 0312.

The helpline is an 0300 number and costs the same as a national call, but should be included in any free minutes you have with your mobile provider.

Email advice is also available at

The helpline is for parents and carers, and their advisers, and gives advice on employment rights for parents and benefits for families. The helpline is run by a team of advisers and solicitors and has an Advice Quality Standard Mark.