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A poll by the TUC has suggested there could be an “emerging class divide” when it comes to future home-working arrangements.
The union body argues that working class jobs have less access to home working, or that employees in these roles are more likely to have flexible working requests refused.
Its poll found that 60% of people in higher-paid occupations had worked from home during the pandemic, compared to 23% in working-class, lower-paid jobs.
It also showed that one in six employers would not offer flexible working to those who had not been able to work from home during the pandemic, compared to just 6% saying they would offer flexibility to those who had been able to work from home.
This is despite the TUC’s research revealing that 82% of workers across all occupations want to take up some form of flexible working in the future.
Workers seek flexibility not just in terms of location but also in hours. Almost two-thirds (64%) of workers said they were looking for flexibility in hours, such as flexi-time (23%), part-time (15%), predictable hours (9%), compressed hours (8%), term-time working (6%) and annualised hours (4%).
Only 54% said they have a right in their current job to request a change to their regular working hours to fit around other commitments. Nine per cent would like “mutually agreed predictable hours” after the pandemic, rising to 13% in working-class occupations.
Yesterday (17 June) the government clarified that a proposed consultation on making flexible working a default option in employment contracts “would not necessarily mean working from home” and that there are currently “no plans to make working from home the default, or to introduce a legal right to work from home”.
Almost two-thirds of those surveyed by