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May 11-12th 2020
University of Warwick

Many parents struggle to cope with the simultaneous demands of parenting and of paid employment. The upshot is that vast numbers are left poor in terms of both disposable income and free time. Moreover, this can have deleterious effects on the many children who are subsequently deprived of the material and emotional resources necessary for a fair start in life.

We might expect three ongoing labour market trends to raise the costs of parenting even further. First, working practices are becoming more unpredictable, with shifts increasingly being decided at short notice and greater variation in working hours from week to week. Second, working practices are becoming more casual, such that fewer workers enjoy employments rights, including rights to parental leave and to sick pay. Third, there is a trend towards greater income inequality between high and low skilled workers, meaning that a range of educational goods and services, including professional childcare, will become increasingly unaffordable to low skilled parents.

Crucially, however, the cost of parenting does not need to be so high, nor must it inflate in the ways we have described. Instead, these facts are a product of political decision-making regarding labour markets and their regulation. Policymakers have at their disposal a range of measures that can lower the price of parenting by reducing the costs that parents and children must bear. These possibilities give rise to the following research question, around which this workshop will focus: How should policymakers respond to the threats and opportunities associated with current labour market trends so as to ensure that our workplaces of the future appropriately serve the interests of parents and children?

If you would like to attend this workshop, please register by email with Tom Parr ( by May 1st 2020.

The workshop is organised by Malte Jauch (University of Essex) and Tom Parr (University of Warwick), and it is funded by the Center for Ethics and Education. Confirmed participants include Jenny Brown (UCL), Anca Gheaus (Universidad Pompeu Fabra), Tim Fowler (Bristol), Alice Martin (New Economics Foundation), Linda McClain (Boston), Irena Rosenthal (Amsterdam), and Lucas Stanczyk (Harvard).