Flexible working legislation to lead to rigid company policies

More
than half of employers will have to change their current policies to satisfy
new legislation giving parents the right to request flexible working
arrangement, according to research.

From
6 April employers will have to allow parents to work flexible hours unless
there are business reasons for turning down requests.

Research
by law firm Linklaters also shows that 82 per cent of employers already have a
flexible working policy, with 68 per cent providing guidance for staff on
putting together an application.

The
study also finds that 75 per cent of employers state that the new legislation
would not make them more likely to grant a flexible working request, as they
already have their own policies in place. 
However, as a result of the new legislation, 71 per cent of employers
will introduce a formal appeals procedure if requests to work flexibly are
denied.

Commenting
on the new laws, Raymond Jeffers, head of employment at Linklaters, said:
"On the positive side, the new legislation is likely to raise awareness of
good flexible working models.

“On
the negative side, the new law is likely to require a more bureaucratic process
than most employers’ current, less formal practices. Also, as the legislation
is aimed at one small group – parents that fit the criteria – that could
possibly lead to division in the workplace."

By Ben Willmott

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