Employees will be able to request flexible working arrangements from their first day in a job under new government proposals – but bosses can still say no.
The government claims the plans will modernise the way Britons work by allowing employees to balance their work and home life. Flexible working arrangements include working from home, job sharing, part time, compressed or staggered hours and flexitime.
Under existing legislation, employees who have been in their role for 26 weeks have a right to request flexible working, however that request can be rejected for reasons ranging from projected negative impact on the quality of work or employee performance.
Labour has slammed the proposals, saying they don’t go far enough. The party has accused the Tories of breaking a manifesto pledge to make flexible working the default.
Announcing a consultation on the plans, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “It was once considered a ‘nice to have’, but by making requests a day one right, we’re making flexible working part of the DNA of businesses across the country.”
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Encouraging flexible or hybrid working could help to give people who are under-represented in Britain’s workforce, such as new parents or disabled people, access to more opportunities.