Flexible working – consultation on extending rights begins

The government is to explore ways to make dealing with flexible working requests easier for employers.

It has set up a consultation following the recommendation to extend the right to request flexible working to all parents with children under 16 contained in the review by Sainsbury’s HR director Imelda Walsh.

Employment relations minister Pat McFadden said the government would seek views from business and suggest ways to reduce the paperwork involved in flexible working requests. It will cover:

  • extending the right to request contract variations to parents with children under 16 (currently available to parents of children under 6)
  • methods of raising awareness of the right to request flexible working among the workforce
  • methods of making it easier for employers to deal with requests.

It will also consider whether to scrap the requirement that employers write formally to staff to advise them that their request has been accepted.

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, will also be launched in the autumn.

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