Home News & eventsNews Working Families announces new Chief Executive

Working Families announces new Chief Executive

Published: 17 Aug 2018

Working Families – the UK’s work life balance charity – has announced the appointment of Jane van Zyl as its new Chief Executive with effect from 3 September 2018, ahead of its 40th anniversary year in 2019 [1].

Jane joins the team from Breast Cancer Haven where she was Operations Director.  Prior to that Jane was Deputy Chief Executive & Acting Chief Executive of Sands, having been Head of Operations for Samaritans for over five years.

Sarah Jackson OBE announced her intention to stand down as Chief Executive in March 2018 and will continue to support the Charity as an ambassador.

Tim Oliver, Chair of Working Families’ Board of Trustees, said:

“On the cusp of our 40th anniversary year, we are delighted to welcome Jane as the new Chief Executive of Working Families. She joins us with a strong understanding of the charity sector and a passion for growing Working Families. As we continue to work towards a society in which everyone can fully meet their work and caring responsibilities, we are delighted that Jane will lead Working Families in this ambition.

“We are very pleased Sarah will continue to support Working Families and I’d like to thank her for all the great work she has done over the past twenty-four years, ensuring that Working Families has had such a significant impact in changing the world of work.”

Jane van Zyl, incoming Chief Executive of Working Families, said:

“I feel honoured and excited to be joining Working Families as it enters its 40th anniversary year.  Flexible and family-friendly working policies are firmly established in many UK workplaces. The next challenge is workplace culture change – shifting the policies from staff handbooks to playing out as the lived experience of UK employees [2].

“But not all working parents are ‘employees’. Many find themselves in low-paid and insecure work because of the scarcity of quality, permanent part-time and flexible jobs in the labour market [3].  As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, Working Families – a charity that works with both employers and parents – is uniquely placed to influence for change, ensuring parental rights for both employees and workers are protected and progressed.”

Sarah Jackson, outgoing Chief Executive of Working Families, said:

“It has been a great privilege to lead Working Families during the last 24 years and I am immensely proud of everything we have achieved.

“I have every confidence that the charity will move from strength to strength under Jane’s leadership.  There is so much more to do, and I’m delighted that I can continue to support the charity in my new role as ambassador.”


Notes to Editors


[1] Two organisations – the Jobshare Project (which later became New Ways to Work) and the Working Mothers Association (which later became Parents At Work) – were started by volunteers in 1979. Both eventually became charities with paid staff.  They merged in 2003 to become Working Families.


[2] MFI Employer Report 2018


[3] Only 11.1% of jobs over £20K full-time equivalent are being advertised as open to flexibility. This far outstrips demand – 87% of all full-time employees either work flexibly already, or say they want to. Timewise Flexible Jobs Index