Flexible Working Hours - What's it all about?

The news that twenty million employees will now be able to request that their employer provides  a more flexible working pattern has brought a lot of difference in opinion from around the UK.

But is it all hot air?  What will REALLY change?

Some say employers will be inundated with flexible working requests that they cannot agree to. Others say that more flexible working practices will increase staff morale and productivity within the work-force.

Jim Lawson, HR and Employment expert from Wosskow Brown Solicitors, has given us this insight to the what this could mean…

“I am currently working with a client to develop their staff handbook and on the very day of this announcement about Flexible Working we were reviewing their own flexible working policy.

It was heartening to hear the down to earth, practical way in which this employer had dealt with a request from an employee to move from full-time to part-time.  This company Director described the process, ‘I asked her what she wanted to do. She said she’d like to work a 3 day week.  I said ‘ok we’ll find someone to do the other  2 days’ , That was a few years ago and the arrangement is in place.

That request was handled in a very matter-of-fact  way, recognising a genuine request from a valued employee and on that occasion the company found a way to agree to it.”

Employers increasingly recognise the business case for flexible working, including enhanced employee engagement and the attraction and retention of a more diverse workforce.

Some commentators warn of the ‘negative dynamic’ where employees will become de-motivated by flexible working requests being turned down.

Large employers may have more opportunities to agree to flexible working requests – whereas for a small employer, like so many based in South Yorkshire, it may not be so straightforward due to the demands of a business with only a few employees.

It’s important to take a common sense approach and as in life, it’s often about a ‘compromise’. Employees don’t request flexible working just to be awkward and employers don’t refuse requests just to be awkward.  If you have a previously healthy employer/employee relationship, be determined not to let a flexible working request sour all the good work you have invested to date.

Wosskow Brown Solicitors is committed to helping businesses to grow in the South Yorkshire region and their HR & Employment Law team are always happy to speak to employers about flexible working or anything else about their business which could help with its continued success.

For more information or advice on Employment matters contact  business@wosskowbrown.co.uk

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