One in five parents have faced unfair treatment at work since the beginning of the pandemic, according to figures released by the charity Working Families.
The data revealed that 2.6 million working parents felt they have been treated less fairly at work due to their childcare responsibilities during the pandemic.
The charity is calling on the government to add caring responsibilities to the list of protected characteristics in the Equality Act.
Jane van Zyl, chief executive of Working Families, said: “At the height of lockdown, the Prime Minister made clear that parents must be ‘defended and protected’ if they are unable to work because they cannot get the childcare they need.
“But there is currently no legal or regulatory mechanism to defend or protect working parents in the way the Prime Minister has suggested.”
She added: “In terms of childcare, we are certainly not back to ‘business as usual’—since schools reopened in September, parents have continued to struggle, managing staggered school times, gaps in wraparound care provision, and the ever-present risk of being required to self-isolate.
“With millions of parents facing unfair treatment at work just for having caring responsibilities—and waves of COVID-related redundancies around the corner—now is the time for the Government to act and make being a parent or carer a protected characteristic.”