On Monday 30th June 2014, I was invited to head into London to discuss the new Flexible Working Rights with Mumsnet & Nick Clegg.
Up until now, the right to request flexible working hours has only been available for carers, or people who look after children.
This has now been extended to all employees.
Tuesday’s extension of the right to request the chance to work flexibly means more than 20 million employees can now benefit.
Flexible working helps people balance their work with responsibilities, keeping more people in long term employment and enabling companies to keep hold of top talent.
It is expected the new right will be of particular interest to older workers who want to work differently as they approach retirement and to young people entering the labour market who may want take up additional training or learning while they work.
As part of the right, employees can expect their request to be considered in a reasonable manner by employers – this will be much simpler than the previous burdensome process businesses had to undergo before making a decision.
Justine Roberts, Mumsnet CEO opened the discussion by highlighting that Mums generally are seen as a burden by employers due to a number of issues (pregnancy appointments through to childcare), Mumsnet however has 40% of it’s staff on Flexitime.
Nick Clegg then began to speak about how the issues Mums face in the workplace are not just issues for Mothers but for Fathers too, Dads need the same rights as Mums. It is now time to remove the typecast from these roles.
Flexible working will allow all the people with talents to show, not just restrict to a few.
Questions were asked and the consensus was that there needs to be a cultural shift in attitudes regarding flexible working and Mr. Clegg explained that there would be nowhere to hide for those who do not wish to move with the times. Equal childcare will be available to those who choose that option.
We were also advised that babies due from April 2015 will benefit by receiving shared parental leave, again a huge step forward into making parenting & childcare equal and not ‘just a mums’ issue.
You can read more regarding flexible working hours https://www.gov.uk/government/news/flexible-working-rights-extended-to-more-than-20-million