22 January 2014
The Coalition’s forays into improving workers’ protection are weak at best, and now even a mostly futile new “right” is to be delayed.
XpertHR yesterday (21 January 2014) revealed that the right for all employees to request flexible working will no longer be introduced on April 06 2014 due to delays to the Children and Families Bill, which contains the new legislation.
The right to request flexible working is exactly as it sounds – permission to ask an employer for more flexible hours, but very little to stop the request from being declined. There is no right to flexible working in the UK, even for those who are parents of small children.
At the moment, the right to request flexible working only applies to those with dependents under the age of 17 or who are carers.
The House of Commons has now agreed a target of 21 March 2014 for the Children and Families Bill to gain Royal Assent and a Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesman told XpertHR it would look for “an appropriate date as soon as possible this year” when the new right will come into effect.
Also contained in the Children and Families Bill is another piece of legislation ostensibly extending workers’ rights: shared parental leave. Unfortunately, original proposals for the scheme – which was conceived to encourage greater gender equality by making it easier for fathers to share childcare responsibilities while women return to work – have been watered down so much that the government’s own impact assessment for the policy estimates that only between 2% and 8% of fathers will be able to take advantage of it.