Hewitt helps working parents get the balance right

Trade
and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt has announced new proposals designed to
help thousands of parents work flexibly.

The
proposals set out the process by which parents with young children can come to
an arrangement with their employers to achieve a better balance between work
and family.

Under
the new measures, parents will have a legal right to request flexible working
from their employer.

The
proposals, which are based on successful arrangements that already exist in
leading businesses and organisations, follow a report by the Work and Parents
Taskforce appointed in the summer.

Employers
will make a practical business assessment on whether flexible working can be
arranged for an employee following a written request and a meeting.

If
the request cannot be accepted, the employer must fully explain the business
reasons in writing. The employee can appeal a negative decision using dispute
resolution and ultimately go to an employment tribunal.

The
DTI estimates that only 1 per cent of requests will end up at a tribunal.

By
Ben Willmott

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