September 22, 2021
The CIPD has welcomed a new consultation from the UK Government on making flexible working requests a day one right. The CIPD launched its #FlexFrom1st campaign in February, calling for all employees to have the immediate right to request flexible working. Under the proposed legislation, companies would be obliged to explain their reasons if it is then refused. The plan would also oblige employers to respond to such requests more quickly, and is being billed as a major reshaping of the way people work in a post-pandemic world, making flexible work the default.
In response to the publication of the Government’s consultation, Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD comments: “We welcome the Government’s consultation on giving employees the right to request flexible working from day one of employment, something the CIPD has been actively campaigning for on behalf of millions of employees this year. Learning from the pandemic, many organisations are now open to more hybrid ways of working which give their employees greater flexibility and say over where they work. But the reality for those whose roles can only be done at their place of work – such as on construction sites, or in hospitals or warehouses – is that they often have very little flexibility in how they work.
“Flexible working isn’t just about working from home, it also covers arrangements such as part-time, flexi-time, compressed hours or job shares for example. An enhanced right to request flexible working from day one could help boost both the provision and uptake of a broader range of flexible working arrangements.
“Employees may not be able to change where they work, but they could have more choice and a say in when and how they work. Flexible working is good for inclusion, wellbeing and productivity, and will help employers attract and retain a more diverse workforce.
“Better access to flexible working is an important step forward and the pandemic is acting as a catalyst. People have a higher expectation now of how working practices can be more flexible and supportive for the future. The HR and people profession has a vital role to play in helping employers develop the right culture and policies and in training managers to support a more flexible workforce.”
Previous CIPD research found:
- Nearly half (46 percent) of employees said they do not have flexible work arrangements – such as flexi-time, part-time working, compressed hours or job shares – in their current role
- Around a fifth (19 percent) of employees said they work for organisations that do not offer any flexible arrangements
- More than two in five (41 percent) employees say it’s unfair that some people can work from home while others have to continue to attend their place of work and have little flexibility in how they work
- Three quarters (75 percent) of employees agree that it is important that people who can’t work from home can work flexibly in other ways