Rights to flexible working for all employees

More than 20 million workers will now have the right to request flexible working arrangements. Under the new legislation, any employee with 26 weeks’ service is able to ask for a range of flexible options. These include 4-day weeks, working from home, compressed hours and job shares.

The government have extended the right, which was previously only available for carers and those looking after children, and they expect it to be particularly beneficial to young workers looking to train while they work and for older workers approaching retirement.

"Modern businesses know that flexible working boosts productivity and staff morale, and helps them keep their top talent so that they can grow," said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

"It's about time we brought working practices bang up-to-date with the needs, and choices, of our modern families."

CIPD research has shown that when flexible working is adopted an overwhelming majority of employers support it, with 73 per cent saying it has a positive impact on staff motivation and engagement. More than three-quarters of employees say it helps with retention.

Susannah Clements, CIPD deputy chief executive, said  “Although many organisations already use flexible working, CIPD research reveals that take-up of some forms of flexible working are still very low – potentially limiting the talent pool of workers that firms are able to recruit from."

Although the response to the extension has been mainly positive, the Federation of Small Businesses (FBS) says these changes will bring ‘negative dynamics’ into the workplace.

It has expressed concerns that the change will cause additional administration for small businesses, and that these rights should not have replaced an approach which most small businesses already take. FSB Chairman, John Allan, said: "Many already offer flexible working, and recognise the benefits for doing so, without the need for a right to request."


Jul 2, 2014
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