From 6th April, over 10 million people will be able to request more flexible working rights. The government is currently looking to help all businesses get ready for the change.

There are already around 6 million people eligible for flexible working hours who are parents and carers, but from next week, another 4.5 million will be able to receive the benefit due to the extension of the rules to include parents with children up to the age of 16.

Pat McFadden, the Employment Relations Minister said: “this is about balancing work and family life. Both workers and employers have felt the benefits of flexible working since we first introduced the right to request.

“Fewer mothers change jobs when they return to work meaning greater continuity for businesses and more employees have been able to work hours which help them cope with parental responsibilities.

“Firms can still say no if they have legitimate business concerns, but more than 95% of all requests for flexible working from working parents and carers are now accepted, as employers recognise the benefits more and more.

“Parenting doesn’t end as children get older. Extending the right to request will help more parents get the flexibility they need. The business benefits of flexible working are well documented and this remains the case in tougher economic times.”

Help Available for Those Making the Change

Currently, flexible working rights are available for those with children up to the age of 6, or disabled children up to the age of 18.

Imelda Walsh last year conducted an independent survey which recommended that the right to flexible working hours should be extended to all children up to the age of 16, as opposed to 6.

Flexible working rights includes a huge variety of business practices, such as compressed hours, being able to work from home, being able to work any pattern of hours wanted as opposed to the usual hours your business keeps.

There are benefits to allowing your workers to have flexible working rights, which include things like an increase in your staff’s productivity, inspiration and recruitment savings.

The government is giving free guidance and tools in order to help businesses sort out their requests for more flexible working rights. For example, many government-run websites are offering all the information you need to make the change.

The government may even contact your business in order to make sure you know about the law change and will comply with the new rule, giving you information in order to help you change.


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