anyspacedirect news

Extension of right to request flexible working welcomed by firms

27th July 2010
A recent survey by Hays suggests many UK firms welcome new Government legislation requiring that legally requires staff to have access to flexible working practices. However, many are concerned over the financial impact.

The survey, which questioned over 680 workers and 420 firms in both the private and public sectors, found that 55% of companies welcomed plans by the Government to ensure employees could request flexible working. 70% expect the legislation to result in a day-to-day increase in staff requesting flexible working time, with a further 40% worried about the potential financial impact.

Private sector employers are more concerned over the financial impact (44%) of staff taking up flexible working compared to firms working in the public sector (33%), perhaps due to the particularly damaging effects of the economic downturn.

Most employers offer flexible working primarily to support employee development; only 18% say it is only to comply with existing government legislation. Only 29%, however, feel flexible working is essential to business success.

Employees report varying degrees of support from businesses in fostering a flexible working environment. 46% of workers say their current employer does not encourage flexible working; this rises to over half in the private sector. In addition, some employees believe the most valuable flexible working options are those that have been made unavailable.

Yet employers should ensure they don’t skimp on flexible working policies, as a significant 85% of staff say they would be more likely to stay with an employer if they introduced flexible working options, such as job shares. 20% say flexible working policies are ‘essential’ when choosing a job, meaning businesses may risk losing out on key talent if they fail to offer the right kinds of options.

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