While it’s encouraging that the government is investigating plans to extend the right to flexible working, it is worrying that John Hutton is already shying away from offering it to families (‘John Hutton warns of an employer backlash over flexible work rights’, Personnel Today, 19 February).
The government must not give in to the negative and fearful reaction of business pressure groups, who appear to be speaking from a position of ignorance and do not seem to be planning for the future.
The legislation has been in place since 2003, so many organisations already offer part-time and flexitime work. Such schemes are highly successful, so why would any employer now shy away from offering this to more parents or, indeed, to the whole workforce?
Valuable staff can be allowed to work wherever and whenever they need to, around their childcare responsibilities, instead of looking elsewhere for employment when they become parents.
When the legislation was extended to cover carers, businesses didn’t run for cover – they simply extended HR and IT to those who needed to work more flexibly.
A well-organised flexible working policy can be driven by business goals as well as social necessity, and have a positive impact in terms of productivity, morale and the all-important bottom line.
Richard Jackson, area vice-president, Citrix UK, Ireland and South Africa