All employees can now request flexible working hours and the right to work from home.
Employers are obliged to take the request into consideration, although they can turn it down for a number of specified reasons.
Previously, the right had only been available to carers and people who look after children. As of 30 June, employees of any size business have the same right. It means 20 million more workers can now benefit.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills announced that there will only be eight reasons for an employer not to grant the request:
- burden of additional costs
- detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
- inability to reorganise work among existing staff
- inability to recruit additional staff
- detrimental impact on quality
- detrimental impact on performance
- insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work
- planned structural changes
The change is expected to boost productivity by improving employee motivation and reducing staff absence.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “Modern businesses know that flexible working boosts productivity and staff morale, and helps them keep their top talent so that they can grow. It’s about time we brought working practices bang up to date with the needs, and choices, of our modern families.
“Today is a crucial milestone in how we can help people balance their family life with work and caring responsibilities. And from next year, Shared Parental Leave will allow mums and dads to be able to choose how they care for their new-born in those first precious months.”
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