The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has called on the Government to "hold its nerve" on the planned extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees, which is expected to be announced in the Queen's Speech tomorrow.
Last year, the Institute of Directors called on the Government to scrap the right altogether, with the aim of reducing the burden of red tape on employers.
However, according to a report from the CIPD, just 4% of employers have reported difficulties complying with the right to request flexible working since its introduction in 2003. The right currently applies to parents of children under the age of 17, or 18 if the child is disabled.
The CIPD's survey of 1,000 employers found that a large proportion of respondents believed flexible working to be beneficial. Three-quarters (76%) of organisations said that flexible working supported employee retention, 73% believed that it boosted motivation and 72% said that it increased engagement.
Last year, the Government decided not to proceed with plans to extend the right to request flexible working to parents of children aged 17, due to small businesses' dislike of "frequent incremental changes to employment law".
However, a bill for an extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees is expected to be included in the Queen's Speech tomorrow.
Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, said: "The CIPD has long been calling for the extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees, despite claims from some quarters that the legislation is burdensome for businesses.
"Similar concerns were raised over a decade ago about the plans to introduce the statutory right to request flexible working for parents. Those fears have proved unfounded - regardless of the size of organisation."