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Flexible working change welcome but it’s still too easy to say no, says TUC

From today (Monday) all employees who’ve been in their jobs for more than half a year have the right to ask their employers if they can work flexibly.

While welcoming the new right for helping make it easier for all employees to better balance their work and home lives (the right to ask for flexible working has until now only been available to parents and carers), the TUC is concerned that it is still too easy for employers to say no to any requests they receive.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s not just parents and carers who can benefit from flexible working. This sensible and modern approach to work is something that can improve the lives of everyone.

“Now, thanks to this long overdue change in the law, employees of all ages will be able to ask their boss to alter the way they work, regardless of whether they have dependents or caring responsibilities. 

“If they have an employer who gets why flexible working makes sense, workers who want to take time out to train, volunteer in a local community project, or simply avoid travelling at rush hour will now be able to transform their lives.

“But those with old-fashioned bosses who expect all staff to stick to the same rigid hours day in day out and always be in the office won’t be so lucky. Employers will still find it all too easy to block any requests for greater flexibility.

“Unfortunately the right to request is only the right to ask nicely. There is nothing to stop employers saying no. Of course not everyone in every company or organisation is able to work flexibly – some requests will always need to be turned down. But without the right to challenge employers, many workers will continue to lose out.”

- The right to request flexible working was previously only available to parents of children up to the age of 16, parents of disabled children up to age 18 and carers.
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
Nigel Stanley M: 07831 735844 E: nstanley@tuc.org.uk 

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