Right to request flexible working: new changes

12 May 2011

From April this year, the right to request flexible working will be extended from parents of children under 17 to parents of children under 18. It is estimated that this change will benefit nearly 300,000 parents.

The government will soon be consulting on extending the right to request flexible working to all employees from 2015. If an employer is enlightened, wants to cut overheads and believes that in this age of digital technology one’s laptop and smart phone can be their office they may well be open to granting such requests. However if one’s employer is only going to grant the right to work flexibly to a limited number of employees, as a certain number of people are needed to be physically present in the office, then will the extension of this right to all employees adversely affect the rights of working parents? Should working parents have greater rights than employees who need to work flexibly to care for a sick relative? Employers will need to balance more carefully than ever the competing rights of employees with different personal needs and domestic arrangements, if they are to avoid costly litigation.

There are however a number of positives for employers, which working parents can stress when raising such issues, which hopefully in time will be seen to outweigh the administrative headache which may be caused to employers initially. Parents who feel that their employer enables them to achieve a good equilibrium between work and family life will be more productive, loyal, committed and engaged, less stressed, well rounded, balanced individuals who will be an asset to their business and good ambassadors for their company.

For more information please contact a member of our employment team

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