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Government consults on flexible working

Government consults on flexible working

The Government is exploring ways to make dealing with flexible working requests easier for businesses, as part of a consultation published on 26 August. The consultation follows the Government’s announcement that it would extend the right to request flexible working to parents with children who are 16 and under.

Employment Relations Minister, Pat McFadden, said the consultation would seek views from business and suggest ways to reduce paperwork involved with flexible working requests. He said: “The right to request flexible working has worked well because it helps employees to balance their home and work lives, but at the same time gives employers the right to say no where there are legitimate business concerns. Parenting requirements don’t end as children get older. We think it is right to extend this successful scheme and help parents of older children access the flexibility they need.”

The consultation will also consider: (i) ways to raise awareness of the right to request flexible working among employees and to boost knowledge of the range of free tools available to make dealing with requests quicker and simpler for businesses; (ii) whether to scrap the requirement that employers write formally to staff to advise that their request has been accepted.

The Government will soon launch an awareness raising campaign to target groups with low knowledge or who are unaware of their right to request flexible working, like fathers and carers, in addition to raising awareness for businesses about how to make dealing with requests simpler.

The consultation will involve all interested stakeholders, including employer and employee representatives, parents, unions, business and family organisations. The closing date is 18 November 2008. You can access the consultation document at: http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file47434.pdf

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