14 Mar 2013

Hugh Shines Spotlight on Working Parents & Carers

A campaigning MSP is backing calls for paid family leave for workers who need emergency time off work to care for their children or family who take ill unexpectedly.

Renfrewshire South MSP Hugh joined forces with Usdaw, the shop workers trade union to highlight the problems faced by workers who have to juggle work with family commitments such as a child taking ill at school or an elderly relative needing help.

The Labour politician gave his support to Usdaw when they held their annual Spotlight Day at the Scottish Parliament. This year it was dubbed Time to Care and focused on reminding workers of their rights and promoting the Union’s campaign to improve these, in particular introducing paid family leave.

Hugh is pictured with Linda MacFarlane and Laura McLean
who are both members of Usdaw’s Equalities Committee
The Labour politician said: “One in every eight Scots is already a carer and studies have found that each day in Scotland 500 Scots take on caring responsibilities. 
“The Coalition Government’s shake up of the welfare state is hitting people in Renfrewshire particularly hard and many are uncertain about the future of social security support. 

“I believe that trade unions have a vital role to play in raising awareness of the support which is available and where improvements need to be made.  I was pleased to have been able to spend time with Usdaw members, hearing first hand of their experiences and showing my support for a paid family leave.”

John Hannett Usdaw’s General Secretary said:” Three quarters of our members are parents and or carers and many struggle to juggle work with their family commitments – especially when unexpected family emergencies put added pressure on parents and carers.”

“At some point in our working lives we all need time off to care for someone close to us. Money worries are a growing concern for many thousands of our members. The legal rights available to workers for time off are unpaid, putting parents and carers under greater pressure at a time when they may already be feeling anxious.”

  • Usdaw (the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK’s fourth biggest and fastest growing trade union with over 426,000 members.  Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade.  Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food, manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.