Flexible Working – Consultation on extension to children up to age 16

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Interested parties are asked to comment on three questions in preparation for the extension of flexible working to parents with children age 16 and under.

In May 2008, Imelda Walsh, the HR Director of J Sainsbury plc, published the results of an independent review of the government’s intention to extend the existing flexible working provisions to parents of older children. The principal recommendations of her review were:

  • any extension should be limited to children aged 16 and under
  • the change should be made in a single step, and not staged
  • business would benefit from increased information and guidance on how to handle flexible working requests
  • more should be done to raise awareness of both employees and employers of the right to request flexible working.

The Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR) published, on 26 August, a consultation document on the implementation of these recommendations. In addition, the government is proposing a deregulatory measure, namely to replace the existing obligation for the employer’s decision to be notified in writing with a requirement to do so only if the request is refused.

The three questions that are posed in the consultation document are:

  1. What more can be done to assist businesses, particularly small businesses, in implementing flexible working arrangements?
  2. Is it sensible to remove the obligation to send a formal letter when an employer agrees to a change in working pattern? Please give reasons.
  3. Is the analysis of costs and benefits provided in the document realistic?

A simple online survey form is provided to encourage as many individuals as possible to respond to the three survey questions. Responses to the consultation document are requested by 18 November 2008. The government’s intention is to introduce the changes from April 2009.

Further information:
Consultation on implementing the recommendations of Imelda Walsh’s independent review: amending and extending the right to request flexible working to parents of older children
Online survey

The UK Payroll News is sponsored by HRD & Payroll Solutions

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