Government extends flexible working hour rights for all employees
The government has extended the right to ask for flexible working hours to all employees.
This right has previously been applicable only for carers or those looking after children.
Under the new legislation, employers must consider each request in “a reasonable manner”.
A press release from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills stated: “20 million people will now have the right to ask to work flexibly.”
It is predicted that the move will result in 81,000 extra flexible working requests each year, inflating the total to 182,000.
A total of 144,000 requests are expected to be approved by employers, of which 64,000 are expected to be agreed today.
Employers have the right to refuse these requests for one of eight set reasons: additional cost burden, negative impact on ability to meet customer demand, inability to reallocate work among existing staff, inability to recruit additional staff, detrimental effect on quality, impact on performance, lack of work needed during the working hours requested by the employee and planned structural changes.
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has supported the motion. Clegg said: “It’s about time we brought working practices bang up to date with the needs and choices of our modern families.”
The move is expected to generate a profit of £55.8m to the UK, outweighing the £39.8m cost to firms.
Industrial relations body Acas has produced a code of conduct to help employers consider flexible working hours’ requests better. The practice guide includes practical examples to understand and resolve any key issues that may arise.