UK employees can choose flexible working hours
UK employees will have the right to request flexible working from the moment they start a job, with companies obliged to explain their reasons if it is then refused, the government will propose in a consultation document this week.
The plan would also oblige employers to respond to such requests more quickly, and is being billed as a major reshaping of the way people work in a post-pandemic world, making flexible work the default.
But before the release of the document, unions are warning that the proposals do not go far enough and that rather than obliging people to ask for flexible working, job adverts should set out what sort of options are available for the role.
After the majority of the UK workforce was given the freedom to work from home and manage their time more autonomously throughout the past 18 months, flexibility is something many people are now keen to maintain long-term.
In fact, as Marie Claire research published earlier this month showed, a substantial proportion of women in the workplace those who have children, and those of childbearing age who don’t – believe the ability to work flexibly is now a non-negotiable.
Over half of women surveyed by Marie Claire said they would turn down a job offer if the company didn’t offer the flexible working they required to maintain a work/life balance. While almost as many asserted they would quit a job they already had if it didn’t offer them what they needed flexibility-wise. So it’s refreshing to see new government proposals announced today that seek to enhance many workers’ right to request flexible working.