Extending right to request flexible working could boost business, and reduce chances of divided workforce
An extension of the right to request flexible working is a sensible move that holds out the prospect of boosting British business, not undermining it as some have argued, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
Mike Emmott, CIPD Employee Relations Adviser, said:
"The existing right to request flexible working has been well received by employers, and has successfully encouraged rather than compelled employers to experiment with flexible working practices. Employers who are willing to acknowledge the lives their employees lead outside work, and seek to accommodate those lives within the necessary constraints of their need to do business, are finding they can fish in a wider pool for labour. And they're finding the people they recruit are more likely to be motivated, and to wish to remain employed by the same firm, when they are allowed to work flexibly. As with so many things, enlightened management of people can make a huge contribution to business performance.
"Our research shows that most employers are happy to agree the majority of such requests, and that two in five employers have already extended the right to request further than the legislation requires. Given the benefits that can be gained, and the ultimate right of the employer to decline to grant requests if they will cause problems for the business, we back an extension of the right to request as a sensible extension of this existing light-touch approach to employment law.
"There may, indeed, be a greater risk in not extending the right to request. By limiting this right to parents and carers, the government risks creating an unnecessarily divided work force, with other workers resenting the rights granted to their colleagues with children or caring responsibilities."