Members and aims of working parents taskforce announced

The Government announced the members of its new working
parents taskforce today, which will examine employees’ rights when looking to
work flexible hours.

There are nine members under the chairmanship of Sir George
Bain. These include senior HR figures such as Anne Minto, director of HR at
Smiths Group, and Michael Griffin, director of HR at King’s College Hospital
Trust.

Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt said, “The new
Work and Parents Taskforce will advise on how we put in place measures which
allow parents with young children to ask to work flexible hours and to have
their requests seriously considered.”

Its aims are to design a light-touch legislative approach to
giving working parents a right to make a request to work flexible hours; integrate
existing best practice and the operational needs of the business; put the
emphasis on resolving requests within the business rather than through
applications to employment tribunals; consider whether other changes to the law
to remove any legal or institutional impediments to flexible working are needed;
and consider whether extra help with the training and development of people
working flexibly is needed

Responding the announcement, Susan Anderson, the CBI’s
director of human resources policy, said, “Whatever it recommends, employers
must be left with the freedom to organise working time in a way that meets the
needs of businesses.”

Julie Mellor, chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, said,
“Making part-time work a real option for more parents will allow employers to
retain experienced staff and increase flexibility in the workplace. It will
also mean a massive improvement in the quality of life of millions of
families.”

The taskforce will
report to ministers in November this year.

By Karen Higginbottom. Click here to
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