Flexible Working for all – blessing or curse?
Employers may see a considerable increase in requests for flexible working when changes to the law take place in 2014.
Currently the right to request flexible working exists in law only for parents or carers. However, in 2010 the Coalition Government promised to extend the right for all employees who have completed at least 26 weeks of continuous employment.
There have been numerous delays to the new legislation but it now seems likely that the changes will become law next year.
Employers have twelve months to prepare themselves for these significant changes and it may be a good idea to start to gauge demand from workers over the next few months, so the business can plan ahead and minimise any impact on their operations.
Flexible working includes; job sharing, part-time or term-time working, working from home, compressed hours or a change to working hours.
Agency workers are currently excluded from the right to request flexible working and this exclusion is expected to remain in place after the new legislation comes into effect.
Want to know more?
The government response to the Modern Workplaces Consultation document makes some useful points;
• Flexible working has tangible benefits for both the individual and employer.
• Offering flexible working can help retain staff and increase commitment and loyalty of employees.
• Flexible working allows employees to balance their work life with their family responsibilities or other commitments.
The group who seem most likely to take advantage of the extension of the right to request flexible working are older employees who may be looking to reduce their working time while not retiring altogether.
A good example is Hunter Estate Agents who have found that employing older people on a flexible basis has been very successful for their company.
The firm’s HR Director told the government’s consultation team:
“Weekends are a very busy time for us and many older people are attracted to weekend working. We offer job-sharing, flexible retirement and part-time working, helping us attract and retain staff. Quite simply, employing older people makes good business sense to our company.”
Flexible working certainly works for many employers but there are concerns about the increased amount of administration and possible tribunal claims the new legislation could bring with it.
To find out more about the legal implications of flexible working for your business contact Lawspeed today on 01273 236 236.