Employers back extension of flexible working rights

2004

Two thirds of UK organisations support proposals for extending current flexible working legislation so that more employees would benefit from it and almost half back the idea of extending the rights to all workers.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's (CIPD) second quarterly HR Trends and Indicators survey, which quizzed more than 2,000 HR professionals, found that 46 per cent felt that all employees, not just parents and carers, should have the right to request the flexible working.

Mike Emmott, CIPD head of employee relations, said that when the legal right for parents to request flexible working arrangements was introduced last year, the institute urged that it should apply to all employees.

In the light of these research findings, and taking into account the other evidence we have about the way in which employers and workers are responding to the legislation, we have no doubt that judgement was right," he said.

"The Government will need to consider this option very seriously when it completes its intended review of the legislation in two years’ time.”

"We see no reason why the right should not be extended to all workers so as to provide reassurance that no group of workers is being unfairly treated." Emmott added.

The report also reveals that UK organisations’ biggest current worry is the prospect of the working-time opt-out being removed.

A quarter of UK organisations say that removing the opt-out would have a significant impact on their organisations, compared to only five per cent who cite the Government's new flexible working laws as a problem.

The survey is also the latest to paint a rosy picture of the recruitment market over the next year. More than eight out of ten organisations said that they plan to recruit this summer, with almost six out of ten planning an overall increase in staff numbers.

By next summer, four out of ten expect to be employing more staff than they are this year, with only 17 per cent who expecting staff numbers to fall - a positive balance of 23 per cent, up from 19 per cent in the spring survey.

Almost half the respondents also anticipate recruitment difficulties over the summer months and a third expect retention difficulties. More than a fifth of respondents reported having no applicants at all for some for vacancies.