25 Jun 2014
From 30 June, new rules come into effect meaning that all employees will be entitled to ask their employer for flexible working, regardless of the reason. Employers in turn will then have a legal obligation to answer that request and though they are not obliged to agree to the request, they must provide a valid written reason if they decide to decline it.
This is an extension of the current regulations whereby the right to request flexible working is reserved for parents and carers.
The Government has predicted that the changes will generate £475m of economic benefits through increased efficiency and employee satisfaction in its first 10 years.
However, a survey by Citrix suggests that just one in 10 small and medium businesses see the changes as positive for their business. Only 43% of decision makers in SMEs support the rules, and only 11% think it will have a positive impact on their business, compared with 21% who predict it will have a negative effect. Almost half of respondents said they currently have no flexible working policy in place.
Commenting on the results, Citrix suggests there might be a “perception problem”, referring to a previous Regus study which found that 76% of those who do allow flexible working saw it as having a benefit to their business.