Flexible working law change will see a quarter of UK staff make requests

Time business concept.Just over a quarter (26 percent) of British employees will ask their employers for flexible working arrangements when the latest changes to legislation come into effect on 30 June 2014, according to a survey by YouGov and Croner. The survey of 2,328 employees also found that over two-thirds (69 percent) of workers have never applied for flexible working, with nearly a quarter of these believing the request would be denied anyway. The research also found that those employees who already enjoy flexible working arrangements identify a range of benefits. 63 percent think that flexi-work creates a better work-life balance, 42 percent believe it boosts staff morale, 28 percent think it reduces sickness and absence, 27 percent claim that it increases productivity.

Under current legislation, only those parents with children under 17 and those with carer responsibilities have the right to apply for flexible working. The new legislation will allow all employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service to request flexible working arrangements.

The survey also reveals that 18-24 year-olds are the age group most likely to make a request (31 percent), and women (30 percent) are more enthusiastic about flexible working than men (22 percent).

Richard Smith, head of employment law at consultants Croner said: “Changes to the law are not bad news for employers – they will receive some flexibility too. The new law replaces the statutory procedure for consideration of flexible working requests, with a duty on employers to deal with requests in a ‘reasonable’ manner. It does not give employees the right to working flexibly but provides a right to request it. Employees can request a change to working hours, working time or working location once every 12 months.”