Right to Flexible Working Extended

The right to request flexible working will be extended to cover another 4.5 million people.

Current laws on flexible working apply to parents of children under the age of six. But after the PM backed an independent review on flexible working in November last year, the recommendations of the review, published today, have suggested that the laws be extended to apply to parents of children up to the age of 16.

Around 6 million workers have the right to apply for flexible working but in reality around 14 million workers actually work flexibly.

The review also found that

  • Flexible working changes should be implemented immediately rather than in stages to make the working practice clearer for business and the employee.
  • The UK’s small businesses have a much better track record on accepting requests for flexible working than larger businesses.
  • Increased information & guidance on dealing with flexible working requests would be of benefit business.
  • Flexible working should not just be considered as a female worker’s right; 45% of the 14 million employees who do work flexibly are men.
  • Awareness of the right to request flexible working should be raised amongst employers and employees.

John Hutton, the Business Secretary, accepted the recommendations made by the review led by Imelda Walsh, HR Secretary at Sainsbury’s, to extend the request to work flexibly for working parents of children up to the age of 16. Now the government must work to implement these proposals.

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