Flexible working rights extended to more than 20 million
1 Jul 2014 11:45 AM
As of yesterday (30 June 2014) every employee
will gain the right to request flexible working, giving a boost to workers and
until now, the right has only been available for carers, or people who look
This has now been extended to all
Yesterday’s extension of the right to request the
chance to work flexibly means more than 20 million employees can now
Flexible working helps people balance their work with
responsibilities, keeping more people in long term employment and enabling
companies to keep hold of top talent.
is expected the new right will be of particular interest to older workers who
want to work differently as they approach retirement and to young people
entering the labour market who may want take up additional training or learning
while they work.
part of the right, employees can expect their request to be considered in a
reasonable manner by employers – this will be much simpler than the
previous burdensome process businesses had to undergo before making a
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:
Modern businesses know that flexible working boosts
productivity and staff morale, and helps them keep their top talent so that
they can grow. It’s about time we brought working practices bang up to
date with the needs, and choices, of our modern families.
Today is a crucial milestone in how we can help people
balance their family life with work and caring responsibilities. And from next
year, Shared Parental Leave will allow mums and dads to be able to choose how
they care for their new-born in those first precious months.
Business Minister Jo Swinson said:
Extending the right to request flexible working will
help to create a cultural shift towards more modern, 21st century workplaces
where working flexibly is the norm.
Firms that embrace flexible working are more likely to
attract and retain the best talent and reap the benefits of a more motivated
workforce. Employees will benefit from being able to balance work with other
commitments in their lives. It also helps drive a cultural shift where flexible
working becomes the norm.
Businesses have reported benefits to their firms in
allowing staff to adopt more flexible working practices. This includes more
than half reporting an improvement in their relationship with their employees
and staff motivation, 40% reporting a boost in productivity and 38% seeing a
drop in staff absence.
Acas has published a short code of practice to help
employers understand the extension to the right and how to process
Acas Chair Brendan Barber said:
experience from working with thousands of employers is that flexible working is
both good for business and employees.
new Code will help employers handle flexible working requests in a reasonable
manner and fit their specific circumstances and procedures. We have also
produced a good practice guide with practical examples to help employers and
businesses consider some of the key issues that may pop up.
Surrey based firm Healix is 1 firm that allowed its
staff to request flexible working, and now more than a third of its workforce
is able to work from home. The firm, which is Europe’s largest provider
of medical evacuation services to the travel industry, has reported lower staff
turnover and levels of stress, as staff can work flexibly to allow them to
balance things like childcare, further education and
Healix is the latest firm to join the Business is GREAT
campaign, inspiring small businesses to grow, nurture, lead and export by
sharing their use of flexible working as a success story.
Paul Beven, co-founder of Healix Group
Flexible working is great for both our business and our
employees. We have a motivated and dedicated workforce and our people benefit
from having the flexibility to balance work with other commitments in their
Susannah Clements, Deputy Chief Executive at CIPD,
extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees is
recognition of its growing importance to both employers and individuals.
Employers increasingly recognise the strong business case for flexible working,
including enhanced employee engagement and the attraction and retention of a
more diverse workforce.
Flexible working can also help meet the demand from an
increasingly multi-generational workforce. Many younger workers are seeking
greater work-life balance, while those looking after ageing parents or
relatives are also requiring more flexibility to manage their caring
responsibilities. At the same time, older workers are demanding more flexible
routes into retirement, looking to work fewer hours rather than seeing
retirement as a “full stop” to their working
new accompanying code of practice, which encourages employers to deal with
flexible working requests in a ‘reasonable manner’, will help
assuage the concerns some employers have about managing flexible
Notes to editors:
- Government has forecasted 182,000 requests per year,
with the new right accounting for 81,000 of the new requests.
- of these, 144,000 are forecast to be granted –
64,000 of which would be employees taking advantage of the extension of the
benefits to business are predicted to come in at £55.8 million –
outweighing the £39.8 million cost to firms.
an employer intends to turn down a request for flexible working, they can only
do so for 1 of the following reasons:
- burden of additional costs
- detrimental effect on ability to meet customer
- inability to reorganise work among existing
- inability to recruit additional staff
- detrimental impact on quality
- detrimental impact on performance
- iInsufficiency of work during the periods the employee
proposes to work
- planned structural changes
- Acas has published new advice and guidance for
employers to help them consider requests. The advice can be found on their