Light-touch flexibility does nobody any favours

Plans to extend rights to request flexible working are good news for workers with caring responsibilities (‘Caring for the Carers,’ Personnel Today, 27 March).

Although businesses may not recognise it immediately, this move will ultimately help them when it comes to recruiting and retaining the best people. This issue is particularly pressing when you consider that the UK is facing a growing skills gap.

Lord Leitch has called for immediate action in this area, yet many organisations are still failing to tap into hugeareas of the workforce – especially women.

More flexible working practices and better maternity leave will go a long way to addressing this.

While a step in the right direction, the incoming regulations are still quite cautious. This ‘light touch’ approach will help to ensure that smaller businesses aren’t over-burdened.

However, larger organisations with the infrastructure in place to be more flexible should go further than the new regulations demand.

Opening up flexible working to all staff – not just carers – would be a very positive next step.

Nicky Briggs, director, LexisNexis

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