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Everyone Has The Right To Work Flexibly

Flexible working always seems to become a focus of attention when the children go back to school after a holiday.

Is flexible working seen as a privilege for those employees who have worked for the company for longer than the 26 weeks threshold? Should be it be a right from day one? The TUC have joined a campaign which pushes Flexible Working Requests to be available to employees at the beginning of employment. Earlier this year the Labour Party pledged to abolish the threshold if they were in Government.

However, such a change to the law will give employers less of an issue than feared. Retention is an expensive issue for organisations and almost 3 in 10 workers (28%) say flexible hours is a primary reason for looking for a new job. In an effort to be proactive and address this issue, some roles may offer a good degree of flexibility from the outset. Many businesses actively encourage flexibility, to engage with and motivate their people.

In addition, the employer and a new employee will need a period of settling-in before they know what flexibility, if any, they can agree to. In this respect, the current 26-week eligibility requirement is actually helpful. Without this period, it could be counterproductive for the employee to try and persuade the employer they can perform their role just as effectively with a flexible arrangement.

Further, if an employee is presenting an FLR when starting the job it is likely that there was an issue with the recruitment process! It is also possible for employees to make informal requests. Similarly, they can make more than one request per annum through an informal route.

Flexible working is here to stay and it will most likely become a ‘rite of passage’ naturally in the competitive recruitment and retention market. Nevertheless, dealing with a flexible working request can fill an employer with dread. If this is the case, contact Coppice HR (paul@coppicehr.com or 07814 008478) to discuss it further and ideally formulate a response that keeps a valued employee motivated and prevents the company having a disgruntled employee and a forthcoming recruitment exercise.

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