Business case studies

Case study: Flex on the frontline with Flexible Childcare Services Scotland

Flexible Childcare Services Scotland employs many frontline staff who can’t do their job from home. But they try to give as much flexibility as possible to staff over when they work.

Two nursery workers describe their working patterns and what flexibility means to them.

Liz’s story

Liz Flight, 50, is an early years’ practitioner works for Flexible Childcare Services Scotland’s nursery in Dundee.

She works 35 hours a week term time only, and she lets her line manager know any shift preferences a week in advance, such as the fact she likes to start at 10am so she can walk her son to school first, and these are taken into account when the rota is prepared.

Liz said: “The flexibility I have is amazing. Without it, I just wouldn’t be able to work, or I’d have to do fewer hours and that would impact how much I can earn. I love my job and the fact I can provide for my family as well as my husband.

“My son is only 10 so I like to be around for him in the mornings and make sure he gets in to school safely, then I have time to lock up and get to work. My husband starts early and finishes about 3.30pm, so he’s home for school pick-up.

“I know lots of people who don’t have the flexibility I have and it’s such a shame because it can make a big difference to people’s lives, especially in terms of helping parents of younger children get into work. I think some companies worry that if they give people more say over shifts, things will get out of hand. But the reality at my work is that the team is very flexible too. If the nursery needs me to cover a shift and I can do it, I will. The flexibility has to go both ways.”

Liz lives in Dundee with her husband and their 12-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son.

Laura’s story

Working mum Laura McCafferty, 32, is also early years’ practitioner for Flexible Childcare Services Scotland’s Dundee nursery. She is a ‘sessional’ worker, meaning she has a casual contract and lets the nursery know her availability a week in advance and her shifts are then allocated.

Flexible Childcare Services Scotland consistently gives Laura around 20 hours’ work each work during school hours, so Laura can drop off and collect her five-year-old son from school.

Laura said: “It’s a great set up for me because I have a lot of choice about when I work. It means I don’t have to rely on family, or find an after-school club. More than that, I get to enjoy the time with my little boy. He loves going to the park, swimming or playing football, or sometimes we visit friends and family. It’s really important to me to be able to do those things, as well as work.

“My line manager is very supportive. I’m expecting another baby in a few weeks, and it was my manager who suggested I reduce my hours a little to help with that. There’s no pressure to work lots of hours.

“If more employers could offer the flexibility I have, I’m sure they’d get a lot more people going for roles, especially parents with young children.”

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