Working Families to host briefing on flexible working

Grandfather with grandson
The right to request flexible working will be available to all

HR professionals meet in London this week to discuss the forthcoming extension of the right to request flexible working.

The extension of the right to request flexible working will be discussed by leading HR professionals at an event run by Working Families later this month. The change to the legislation that currently gives parents of children under the age of 17 and carers of dependent adults the right to apply to their employer for a more flexible pattern of work was originally tabled for 6 April 2014, but it has now been delayed to “an appropriate date as soon as possible this year”.

For a variety of reasons, more and more older workers are wanting to stay in employment” – Christopher Brooks, Age UK

The aim of the briefing on 13 February is to draw employers’ attention to the new groups of employees who will qualify for the right to request flexible working and who may have different needs for flexibility than parents of young children or carers of dependent adults. Organisations will be able to find out how the extension will affect them and their workforce.

Two groups of employees who may benefit from the extension of the right to request flexible working include older workers and grandparents.

Christopher Brooks, policy adviser at Age UK, is scheduled to speak at the event, and says: “For a variety of reasons, more and more older workers are wanting to stay in employment, and employers are increasingly needing to retain their staff to cut recruitment costs and maintain key skills and expertise. Offering options to work flexibly – for example, flexitime or homeworking – can help to achieve these aims for both parties.

“While many organisations have recognised the benefits of agreeing changes to working patterns, many older workers are still unable to access flexible working. As the right to request is extended, we urge employers to focus on how flexibility can work for this group of employees in particular, and also how a culture of flexible working can become instilled across their organisation.”

Samantha Smethers, chief executive of Grandparents Plus, will also be speaking at the briefing. She will highlight the evidence that grandparents are increasingly providing childcare and that many of those who do work outside the home. In fact, most grandparents who are providing childcare are aged between 55 and 64. While there are many grandparents who want to work flexibly, they currently feel unable to discuss their needs with their employer, and the extension of the right to request flexible working could help to remedy this.

Find out more about the event here.

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