Extending flexibility to all

Alison Maitland's picture

In two years' time, if the British government's plans come to fruition, all employees will have the right to ask their employers if they can work flexibly. Today's announcement by Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, is a welcome step in the right direction (as is the reform to enable mothers and fathers to share parental leave flexibly). The problem is that this is still being framed primarily as a benefit for employees - and it is only a right to request, not a right to have flexibility.

There is such strong evidence that changing the way we work can benefit business that the government should be selling this as a positive measure to boost Britain's economic competitiveness - as well as environmental sustainability and "work-life balance". That way, it might persuade laggard employers to change their tune.

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