Government unveils new approach to flexible working - Palmers Solicitors

Government unveils new approach to flexible working

Government unveils new approach to flexible working

New Government plans to allow workers the right to request flexible working from day one, have moved a step closer.

As the country gets back into full swing with the end of furlough arrangements, flexible working has become increasingly popular.

Now the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), has unveiled plans which it says will strengthen employment rights and increase the productivity of businesses.

It covers many areas including job share, flexible working and phased retirement.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has previously said he believed flexible working is something that is here to stay.

BEIS has said the proposals would mean:

  • More choice over when and where they work and the right to request flexible working a day one entitlement.
  • A right to one week’s unpaid leave for carers balancing a job with caring responsibilities.
  • Making business more productive, whilst accommodating both staff and employer needs.

The proposals cover such areas as:

  • Job-sharing, flexitime, compressed, annualised and staggered hours, as well as phased retirement.
  • Allowing employees to balance their work and home life, including helping people who are managing childcare commitments or other caring responsibilities.
  • Ensuring that people who are under-represented in Britain’s workforce, such as new parents or disabled people, have access to more opportunities.

Mr Kwarteng said: “Empowering workers to have more say over where and when they work makes for more productive businesses and happier employees.

“It was once considered a ‘nice to have’, but by making requests a day one right, we’re making flexible working part of the DNA of businesses across the country.

“A more engaged and productive workforce, a higher calibre of applicants and better retention rates – the business case for flexible working is compelling.”

Samantha Randall, an Associate Solicitor and employment law expert with Palmers, said: “Currently the right to request flexible working, for example having flexible start and finish times, or working from home, requires an employee to have worked for the same employer for a minimum of 26 weeks.

“The new day-one plans would mean that all employees would be able to make a request for flexible working, known as a ‘statutory declaration’ immediately.

“It is important to be aware that employers will still have the right to reject a request if they have sound business reasons, but they will be encouraged to offer other flexible working methods to meet an employee’s desire to work flexibly wherever possible.”

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