Flexible working proposals may reduce number of requests

Government plans to develop flexible working may have the effect of actually limiting the practice.

That’s the view of the TUC.

The trades union organisation argued that proposals to extend the right to request flexible working to all employees may be undermined by other planned changes to the law.

At the moment, the right to request covers parents with children under 17 (or under 18 if they are disabled) and some carers.

The TUC’s worry is that, as part of the extension, employers would no longer have to follow a statutory process when considering requests. Instead, there would just be a duty to consider requests “reasonably”.

Brendan Barber, the TUC’s general secretary, claimed this could lead to more requests being rejected.

Mr Barber added: “The government should remember how successful and popular this right has been for parents over the last decade and put their needs ahead of the same old carping from business lobbyists.”

The Government’s argument is that scrapping the statutory process would allow employers to use their own management systems to consider requests”.

The TUC’s response came after the conclusion of the Government’s modern workplaces consultation which has covered a number of employment rules.