PM Backs Independent Review on Flexible Working

Small Business News – 9th November 2007

Prime Minister Gordon Brown today announced further measures to extend workers rights to request flexible working.

In light of new figures in the 2007 Work-Life Balance Employer Survey that reveal flexible working is of great benefit to business as well as to employees, the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (DBERR) has appointed Imelda Walsh, Director of Human Resources at Sainsbury’s, to lead an independent review on flexible working.

In particular the review is to look at how requests for flexible working can be extended to parents of older children.

The business case for flexible working is that productivity gains can be made and staff retention is improved.

Imelda Walsh’s services were secured due to her experience with promoting family-friendly policies at Sainsbury’s.

The figures that support the review indicate that:

  • 14 million employees in the UK who work flexibly or have worked flexibly in the past 12 months.
  • 91% of requests to work flexibly (within the last 12 months) have been approved
  • Employers tend to have positive views about supporting families’ work/life balance
  • More and more employers are actively promoting flexible working
  • If the age limit for children covered under flexible working was raised from 6 years old to 9 years old, an additional 1.4 million parents would be able to benefit
  • Should the age limit be raised to include children of to 12 years of age, 2.6 million parents would benefit.
  • An age limit of 17 would help 4.5 million parents.

Read the complete 2007 Work-Life Balance Employer Survey (243 pages, 3.3Mb PDF) or take a look at the executive summary (18 pages, 144k PDF)

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