Flexible work changes 'reviewed'

(46 Posts)
Cosette Mon 20-Oct-08 13:20:45

"Plans to increase parents' rights to request flexible working are to be reconsidered, Downing Street says.

No 10 said Business Secretary Lord Mandelson was looking at "all regulations due to come into force", given the economic uncertainty. "


I think this would be a really bad move on Labour's part. I understood that a request could be turned down if the business had a good reason to do so, so what exactly would this achieve?

Cosette Mon 20-Oct-08 13:21:29

sorry here's the link done properly - news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7679802.stm

Iloveautumn Mon 20-Oct-08 13:24:03

I heard this on the news this morning and thought exactly the same as you, it's hard enough to get a business to agree to it anyway!!

It shows that the Govt sees flexible working as only benefitting the parents - whereas in reality if companies were more accomodating to parents it could benefit both the company and the economy in general.

Shows they only really pay lipservice to sexual equality - their real allegiance is only to businesses.

dinny Mon 20-Oct-08 13:25:57

oh, this doesn't bode well does it?

MrsGhoulofGhostbourne Mon 20-Oct-08 17:50:41

As someone who has benefited from the right to ask for flexible working, it is very upsetting to hear that it might not be available for others. I work term time only - it works fantastically well for me and for the company - and my manager (who was inititally TOTALLY opposed to the very idea) said in my next appraisal that it was a very positive move, I was much more motivated and the company benefited - win-win. I have worked this way now for 4 years and it has flexed according to the age of the children. Now they are older I can be in contact via phone and email more in the holiday and the advent of wifi has also helped.Needless to say I do not want to change jobs, and am sticking with this company while my male colleagues have flitted for a higher base salary. My company has also recently been open to the idea of employees of employees taking unpaid sabbaticals. So far they all returned with a renewed zest, and teh company was recently voted 'employer of choice'.

TwoIfByScream Mon 20-Oct-08 18:28:23

You would think that to encourage and enable more people into work then they would reconsider and actually extend it. I suppose without the jobs being there though that this is what happens.

Still, when the gov. bang on about single parents etc. etc. not working and then do something like this it is hardly joined up thinking.

Tough times are ahead (obvious statement of the week that one) and Joe Public will have to pay for the irresponsibility that has brought us to this point.

LittleBellaLugosi Mon 20-Oct-08 19:04:04

V. depressing. Why not abolish all equal ops employment law while we're at it? After all, being treated as a full human being in the workplace is a luxury, not a necessity.

PavlovtheWitchesCat Tue 21-Oct-08 08:13:48

I think it is not sensible at all. Like many have already said. The business is able to refuse if it can demonstrate economic hardship as a result.

I am currently on flexible working, and it has been a godsend to my employers, or is about to be. They really struggle to get people to cover evening training programmes, as contracted hours are 9-5pm. However, as part of my flexible working, I have compacted hours which means I am working longer days, shorter weeks, works great for me and means I am available to cover the evening work so great for the employer.

I also have the option of working from home on an ad-hoc basis, so when I sleep badly due to DD sleeping badly, or when she is poorly, needy and work allows I can work a couple of hours at home. This increases my productivity, means I am less likely to take time off sick, means I work harder at work as am less tired and it means I have a more flexible approach to my work.

Of course this option does not work for all employers, which is why there is the route of refusing if it is detrimental. BUT if the option was not there, many employers would also lose out.

They are losing a commodity that could save many businesses in times of financial hardship, when parents will become less flexible (ie they too are suffering financial hardship, so can't afford after school childcare/holiday care and therefore become more inflexible themselves).

Cosette Tue 21-Oct-08 10:00:25

Agree Pavlov - too many employers dismiss flexible working, without appreciating that it can and should benefit them too.

I heard on the radio that the government are also reviewing other plans - an extra Bank Holiday, and the addition to the Maternity leave period.

Personally think the additional maternity leave should become parental leave that either parent can take..

Bramshott Tue 21-Oct-08 10:02:46

When will they realise how much it costs a business to recruit and train a staff member, and how anything that can retain and motivate existing staff has got to make good business sense?!? Are there really still employers and politicians out there who think that flexible working is all about employees saying "right, I will be working these hours, like it or lump it"?!? When will we end this culture that says that a job is something that only counts if you are present in an office from 9.00 - 5.00, regardless in many cases of whether you are doing work or chatting by the coffee machine?!?

Cosette Tue 21-Oct-08 10:42:03

Ironically it's actually easier from a childcare perspective to work when children are under 5 - as there are generally nurseries that will do full daycare if desired. It's once they get to school it becomes a real problem. Our local village school starts at 8.45am and finishes at 3pm (earlier when they're 4yrs). There are no childminders or nurseries in the village at all, and just one childminder from a nearby village that will pick up. Then of course there are the school holidays to cover.

So it's bizarre that the current law thinks parents don't need flexible working once a child gets to age 6.

EachPeachPearMum Tue 21-Oct-08 11:13:59

Pavlov- could you clarify your statement "when I sleep badly due to DD sleeping badly, or when she is poorly, needy and work allows I can work a couple of hours at home" please?

That sounds to me like not working, but resting. But did you mean you go in late, and work late to catch up hours?

I have had flexible working previously, and my employer is great at approving and enabling it.
However, if I have had a bad night (DD or me!) I take the morning off, in order to catch up on rest. That isn't 'working from home' that is resting.

On some occasions I do work from home, but I am genuinely working not resting/caring for my DD. Usually I do it if I have meetings/appointments the other side of the city, or if travel will be a nightmare for various reasons.

VeniVidiVickiQV Tue 21-Oct-08 12:42:49

I dont think it was working as well as it could have been for many in the first place so to put more restrictions on it would kill it off altogether.

Flexible working is so worthwhile, particularly in an age whereby everyone wants things at all times of day.


theyoungvisiter Tue 21-Oct-08 13:41:27

Also as someone on the radio said this morning, the current "economic uncertainty" doesn't only impact on small businesses, it affects families as well.

If my employer didn't allow me to work flexibly then it wouldn't be worth my while working at all (from a purely financial perspective).

I think with increasing costs of living etc, more and more families are going to need to be creative with balancing home and childcare to make ends meet. If employers can do this without added cost to them - what's the downside?

It's just a stupid PR attempt to be seen to be helping small businesses without actually handing over any cash or changing any policy at all.

theyoungvisiter Tue 21-Oct-08 13:42:30

sorry, that was supposed to read:

"balancing work and childcare"

filz Tue 21-Oct-08 14:07:57

why cant i post on this thread

filz Tue 21-Oct-08 14:08:06


filz Tue 21-Oct-08 14:08:53

is it to do with the content??

Spoo Tue 21-Oct-08 14:13:24

Makes me mad. I am a highly qualified professional working part time hours. please don't tell me that if I want to work I must sacrifce all my time with my children.

If I didn't work for myself PART TIME then I would not work. Whilst I recognise the importance of parenting - what a wate of an education!

We were sold a lie as younger women - that having children and having a full time career not only acheivable but almost an absolute!! When will the government and working world wake up to the fact that parents do not want to work all the hours and shove their kids in nurseries or after school care for 50 hours a week!!

Spoo Tue 21-Oct-08 14:14:15

filz - i had problems too.

theyoungvisiter Tue 21-Oct-08 14:20:33

I had problems posting too - my message went blank 3 times

AbricotsSecs Tue 21-Oct-08 14:41:12

Message withdrawn

UnquietDad Tue 21-Oct-08 14:51:25

It's crap anyway. How does it work for teachers? hmm

theyoungvisiter Tue 21-Oct-08 15:06:21

"It's crap anyway." - I don't agree!

Sure the legislation could do with a bit more muscle - and sure, an employer can find a way out if they really want to, but it's better than nothing, and it's definitely given employees much more leverage than before. THere's absolutely no way I would have got my request through prior to the current legislation (I know because several colleagues tried and failed).

As for teachers - well there are various ways depending on what age group you teach, but of course some jobs are easier to accommodate than others, that's just a fact of life. Doesn't mean the whole principle is a bad idea.

Cosette Tue 21-Oct-08 15:39:32

A couple of my DD's primary school teachers did a job share - worked pretty well. I'm sure there are loads of other examples of teachers working flexible hours.

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