Will new flexible working legislation call time on the 9 to 5?

blog-publish-date

30 Jun 2014

blog-read-duration

 

  • Over a quarter of British workers plan to ask employer for flexi-working
  • 69% of working population has never made a flexible working request where they currently work
  • 22% don’t think it would be accepted
When the Government’s changes to flexible working legislation come into force on 30 June 2014, UK employers could face a surge in flexi-working requests from employees. According to a new YouGov survey, 26% of British workers (excluding sole traders) say they are likely to request flexible working arrangements once the new legislation comes into force. The survey of 2,328 Brits (of which, 1243 were working – excluding sole traders) was commissioned by Croner, a Wolters Kluwer company providing information and consultancy to HR, health & safety and business professionals and features in a new practical guide for businesses. The fact that over a quarter of British workers surveyed say they are likely to take advantage of the new legislation could overcome widespread inertia regarding flexible working, caused by uncertainty and a fear of rejection. According to the survey, 69% of the working population has never made a flexible working request. Of these workers, 13% cited financial implications as a reason for not requesting flexibility, while nearly a quarter (22%) said they did not think their request would be accepted. Currently, only employees with children under 17 and those who have responsibilities as a carer have the right to request flexible working. The new law extends this right, and means that any employee (with 26 weeks' service) will be able to apply to work flexibly. Indeed, the survey shows that 18-24 year-olds are the keenest age group to ask their employer (31%) and women are more likely to make the request (30%) than men (22%). Good news for British business? Richard Smith, Head of Employment Law at Croner says: “Changes to the law are not bad news for employers – they will receive some flexibility too. The new law replaces the statutory procedure for consideration of flexible working requests, with a duty on employers to deal with requests in a ‘reasonable’ manner. It does not give employees the right to working flexibly but provides a right to request it. Employees can request a change to working hours, working time or working location once every 12 months.” “For SMEs, flexible working will not be the easiest policy to implement, particularly if there is sudden rush of applicants this July. However, once the trust and change of mind set has been established the rewards of a flexible work force will become clear. For those companies who have never offered flexible working or understand this new legislation it may come as a shock. Bosses should also note that if there is a genuine business reason they can turn down requests, but they will need to prove that they have been considered fully and the process well documented.” Less sickness and better morale and work-life balance The survey also found that 27% of respondents whose businesses have offered flexible working believed that flexibility helped to increase productivity and 28% said it reduced sickness and absence. Meanwhile, 63% of respondents believed that flexible working created a better work life balance and 42% said it created higher staff morale. Flexible working has been positively embraced by employees of all ages, with a perceived uplift in productivity and morale, while delivering a better work life balance. Although the overall impression of flexible working is positive, 16% of respondents felt that it could create tension in the workplace, rising to 19% of 45-54 year old workers. This tension may be eased when the new legislation comes into effect, as the 45-54 year old age group who have traditionally been viewed as the ‘neglected middle’ will have the same opportunities to request flexible working as their colleagues. However, employers will still need to be mindful not to discriminate against employees on the basis of any protected characteristics. Employers may wish to adopt a policy to regulate flexible working requests.

Free to Download Employer Resources

  • Sample Health & Safety Communication and Consultation Policy

    FREE DOWNLOAD

    Sample Health & Safety Communication ...

    Download Croner's sample health & safety communication and consultation policy, here.

    Read more
  • Adverse Weather Policy

    FREE DOWNLOAD

    Adverse Weather Policy

    Here we’ve included a free sample adverse weather policy that UK business owners can refer to...

    Read more
  • Sample Data Protection Policy

    FREE DOWNLOAD

    Sample Data Protection Policy

    Here we’ve included a free sample data protection policy that UK business owners can refer to...

    Read more
  • Health & Safety Changes to Look Out For in 2019

    BLOG

    Health & Safety Changes to Look Out F...

    The news at the start of this year has been dominated by Brexit and its potentia...

    Read more
  • Understanding Wage Differentials and Identifying Factors That Affect It

    BLOG

    Understanding Wage Differentials and ...

    The first step to understanding wage differentials is knowing the distinction be...

    Read more
  • Is Sitting the New Smoking?

    BLOG

    Is Sitting the New Smoking?

    Did you know that people who sit for 13 hours a day have a 200% greater risk of ...

    Read more
  • Solicitors Benevolent Association

    CASE STUDY

    Solicitors Benevolent Association

    “The reason for using Croner was the high-profile track record and the credibili

    Read more
  • John Taylor Hospice

    CASE STUDY

    John Taylor Hospice

    “A large number of the queries are around employment law and rights in areas suc

    Read more
  • Motorsport Industry Association

    CASE STUDY

    Motorsport Industry Association

    “I’m so happy with the service Croner provide, I’d be hard pressed to find a fau

    Read more

Ready to focus on what you do best?

Get your free consultation and speak to an expert today.