Men as well as women are starting to request part- and term-time working after becoming a parent, a leading HR professional has claimed.
Speaking at the National Employment Conference 2000 at Gleneagles, Bank of Scotland Group's HR director Neil Roden told the audience he believes the practice will gradually become common.
He said, "I think it will take a while to percolate down. It is a small number at the moment but I think there is a trend."
Roden said it is no longer the mother who automatically gives up work or goes part-time after having a child, especially if she earns more than her partner.
He said some managers had objected to the requests but added that Bank of Scotland Group is committed to providing flexible working for staff.
"We have had some opposition from managers, sometimes it is a fear of the unknown."
He said flexibility is the key to retaining and recruiting valuable staff. "You can lose a lot of people because you are not flexible about the hours they want to work.
"Two-thirds of our female staff who have children want to come back to work part-time. We look at how we can accommodate them. We do not want to lose their skills."
Roden added that the cost of recruiting a new employee is often as much as their annual salary.
The group is also exploring how some staff can work from home. "It is about being responsive. That is the game we are in now - how to get all these bits of the jigsaw to fit. You have to position yourself as an employer that people want to work for."