Only a tiny fraction of staff have made a request to work flexibly since
regulations aimed at helping working parents were introduced nearly six months
New research reveals that less than 1 in 1,300 employees have made a
request, despite around one in seven of the working population being eligible
Under the Employment Act, which came into force in April, working parents
with children under the age of six or disabled children under the age of 18
have the right to request flexible working arrangements.
The survey of 25 organisations employing more than 125,000 people by law
firm KLegal found that less than half had received any flexible working requests
at all since April, and had only received 97 requests in total.
Commenting on the findings, Colina Greenway, director in people services at
KLegal, said: "These findings are a surprise, given all the evidence
pointing to a desire among employees to work more flexibly.
"It could be that workers are still simply not aware of their rights,
or that they would rather not be the first to request a change," she
"Some could be worried that applying might jeopardise their job
security, even though the law says it shouldn’t."
Around 30 per cent of the requests were made by men, and around 40 per cent
of requests were granted by the employer without any modifications.
Almost all of the companies polled considered the burden of introducing
flexible working to have been negligible or insignificant. Perhaps this is not
surprising, given the low number of requests received.