CBI says no to flexible working free-for-all

The CBI has warned that extending the right to request flexible working to parents of children aged 18 or under is “out of the question”.

A review into expanding the right to request flexible working is being carried out by Sainsbury’s human resources (HR) director Imelda Walsh. Her findings are expected to be published in the coming weeks.

The TUC is calling for the right to request to be extended to all workers, regardless of their parenting duties.

But Marion Seguret, senior policy adviser at the CBI, told Personnel Today: “Extending the right to request [flexible working] to parents of children who are 18 and under is out of the question for now.

“If the formal right to request was extended, businesses want to see it staged to cope with demand. Somewhere between the 12- to 16-year-old age bracket would be acceptable.”

In its review response, manufacturers’ body the EEF said it anticipated any extension would have a negative impact on business.

“Increasing the numbers of requests for flexibility will pose difficult issues for management, and potentially create unhappiness among those not granted flexibility, or without the right to request it,” said Peter Schofield, employment and legal affairs director.

The right was first introduced in 2003 for parents of children under six, or 18 in the case of a disabled child.

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