Firms lack policies on flexible working

HR professionals have revealed that two thirds of their organisations do not
have a formal policy on flexible working.

A survey of more than 500 personnel specialists has shown that 67 per cent
do not have a set policy in place.

This research by the Industrial Society has been released as the Work and
Parents Taskforce meets again this month to develop the rights of parents to
work flexibly.

Professor Sir George Bain, chair of the Work and Parents Taskforce, said,
"The survey shows there is an issue in getting employers to take flexible
working seriously, and this can particularly affect those employees who could
benefit most – parents of young children."

The research, called Flexible Work Patterns, shows that, although 91 per cent
of respondents now offer more flexible work patterns, only one third of
organisations surveyed have a set flexible working policy.

Harjit Sidhu, associate HR director of telecoms company Transcomm UK, said a
formal policy on flexible working is important for improving staff retention.

She said, "We had an informal policy for a year and it didn’t work half
as well as when we introduced a formal approach."

Staff were uncertain whether they were eligible to work flexibly and senior
management participated only when the policy became formalised and included in
the employee handbook, Sidhu said.

Michael Griffin, director of HR for King’s College Hospital NHS Trust and a
member of the Work and Parents Taskforce, said, "Making the ground rules
for flexible working clear for all managers and staff is essential for these
schemes to benefit both the business and the employee."

By Katie Hawkins

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