02 Jul 2014

New Flexible Working Hours Legislation

New Flexible Working Hours Legislation

Elaine Stuart, Solicitor, comments on the new laws over flexible working rights.

Elaine Stuart, Solicitor, comments on the new laws over flexible working rights.

The BBC has reported that as of this week, flexible working could become a reality for more workers as new rules come into force which will allow all employees with 26 weeks or more service to request flexible working.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that 20 million people now have the right to ask for flexible work hours, with unions and employment groups welcoming the move. The change in the law, which affects everyone with more than six months' service comes less than a week after the government said it would ban employers from stopping staff with zero-hour contracts from seeking extra work elsewhere.

There has been plenty of research to show that a flexible workforce is a happier and more productive one. With modern technology, it is now easier for employers to agree a departure from the standard 9-5 office based routine. However whether employers are likely to embrace these increased requests under the new rights is another matter.

The government expects the extension of flexible working rights to be of particular interest to older workers approaching retirement and to young workers looking for additional training while they work.

Many businesses already offer flexible working to their staff, though unfortunately the right to request is only the right to ask nicely. There is nothing to stop employers saying no.

Elaine Stuart, Solicitor

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