The Equal Opportunity Commission’s (EOC) recommendation to extend the right to request flexible working to parents with older children or those with other caring responsibilities should be treated with caution, according to the CBI.
A report by the EOC, released today, shows that more than half of the UK’s part-time workers are in jobs that they feel fail to capitalise on their qualifications, skills and previous management experience.
The Part Time Is No Crime – So Why The Penalty? report states that working part-time in low-paid jobs can ‘scar’ their income, earnings potential and promotion prospects for life, while the economy loses essential skills.
It argues that the way to tackle the stigma and disadvantages faced by those who work part-time is by opening up flexible working practices at all levels of the economy, and granting the right to request flexible working to carers and parents of older children.
CBI deputy director general John Cridland, said that flexible working is a key issue for UK employers, and high rates of acceptance for requests to work flexibly show that they are committed to helping employees balance work and family responsibilities.
“The best way to extend opportunities for employees to work flexibly is through the right to request flexible working,” he said. “But the EOC’s recommendation to extend the right to request flexible working to parents with older children or those with other caring responsibilities should be treated with caution. Large increases in the volume of requests may reduce employers’ ability to accommodate them.”