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Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD and chair of the government’s Flexible Working Taskforce, has indicated that a four-day week could be just one of the ways in which post-pandemic working patterns change.
In an interview with the Politico website, he said that Covid had “fuelled” the idea that flexible working “can and should be seen as just as much an acceptable way of working as a more standard five-day working week”.
“These different forms of working should be seen as part of the norm,” he added. “There are a variety of mechanisms by which you can support people in these more flexible ways of working, which can be helpful in terms of inclusion and wellbeing and balance of life.”
The Flexible Working Taskforce, originally set up in 2018, recently raised concerns that employers could risk creating a “two-tier workforce” if they fail to offer flexible working on an inclusive basis.
Cheese said it would not be the role of the taskforce to suggest changing contracts or employment terms, and that working hours and arrangements would be up to businesses to resolve themselves.
However, the group will look at the legal landscape surrounding flexible working and whether it can be improved. The government has confirmed it is in consultation to offer the right to request flexible working as a day-one right, and this could feature in the upcoming Employment Bill.
Last week ministers were forced to deny reports that they were consulting on a legal ‘right to work from home’ that would make it illegal for employers to force staff back into the office.
Cheese added that a discussion s