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New flexible working legislation to benefit Scotland

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A major shake-up in the law which will affect every business is Scotland is fast approaching. This change in legislation means that every employee, not just those with care responsibilities, can apply for flexible working.

The impending changes will require organisations to consider alternative working arrangements for their employees – this could range from reduced hours, compressed hours or indeed working from home. One company, Law At Work, who is already embracing a flexible working model, has recently been awarded director of the year for Flexible Working Policies by the Institute of Directors (IoD). The employment and Health & Safety specialist's chief executive Jane Wright fought off stiff competition from other Scottish organisations to be presented the award.

The firm, which has offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh, already allow staff remote working, flexible start and finish times, the buying and selling of additional holiday days and even grant staff additional paid leave where required to accommodate study leave for work related exams. The firm which has 27 employees has also allowed staff members to switch from full to part time in order to allow them to pursue unrelated qualifications.

Speaking about the up-coming change, Donald MacKinnon, director of legal services at Law At Work, said: “Implementing flexible working practices doesn’t have to be painful. The minor inconvenience of changing staff working behaviours is off-set by the overall sense that the organisation is a great place to work and vastly contribute to retaining quality staff. He warns, however: “Arrangements for flexible working must strike a delicate balance between the needs of the employee and that of the employer. If, once the request has been properly assessed, it is found not to be beneficial to both, the company can deny a request. It is vital, however, that a consistent approach is employed to avoid the employer getting themselves into difficulties.”

In winning the IoD award, Jane Wright added: “To have secured this award is a testament to the board’s dedication to maintain LAW’s position as a Great Place to Work. It makes me proud that the senior business people from around the country that makeup the IoD selection committee choose to highlight that our flexible approach to working is setting the bar in Scotland. “Our staff are our greatest asset and our approach to them, coupledwith keeping our clients satisfied, has resulted in year on year gains for the business. I would urge others who will now have to face changes in their working practices to welcome the new legislation, take professional advice and use this change to help their organisation meet the demands of today’s modern and flexible business environment.”

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