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Flexible working rights should be extended

The right to request flexible working practices, such as the option to work from home, should be extended by the government.

This is according to Mike Emmott, employee relations adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Mr Emmott explained that by restricting flexible working to just carers or parents, leaders risk creating the “mistaken assumption that flexibility is a perk that is good for some but not others”.

His comments come in response to the government's Modern Workplaces consultation. The CIPD is keen to see the government maintain its flexible working time table of implementing the practice by 2015.

Mr Emmott added that businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of allowing employees to balance their work with their lifestyle and individual commitments. “Organisations have grasped the reality that an employee who gives everything they can within flexible working hours offers more than someone reluctantly working a ‘typical’ working day because that is all that is on offer,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the CIPD is concerned that the government might only roll out flexible working options to larger firms and has even considered exempting micro-businesses and start-ups. Excluding these smaller firms will only contribute to the creation of a “two-tier labour market”, which, according to the think tank, might even put off small companies from looking at expansion.

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