Flexible working for commuters receives mixed reaction

A proposal to open up flexible working requests to all staff – not just parents – to reduce ‘rush hour congestion’ across the UK has provoked mixed responses, hrmagaizne.co.uk reports.

Those with jobs in London and other busy areas of the UK may be familiar with crowded trains, tubes or buses – so could support the suggestion made by Jo Swinson that Britons should be allowed to work flexibly.

Swinson – the minister for employment relations and consumer affairs – wants the current set-up to change. At present, flexible working request from parents are automatically given priority over those from workers without children. 

Lynda Spidy, head of employment at solicitors, Boote Edgar Esterkin emphasised that greater flexibility would allow employers to “make the most of their entire talent pool, help them attract and retain workers as well as preventing women leaving work following childbirth”.

Others have not been so welcoming. Alex Jackman, of the Forum of Private Business, branded the notion “nonsensical”,  according to nebusiness.co.uk. He said that small businesses would not have the infrastructure to accommodate the resultant longer opening hours nor funds for increased energy bills.

Meanwhile, Adam Marshall of the British Chamber of Commerce highlighted that extra powers were not needed for requesting flexible working as businesses are already “organising their own agreements on this”.

by Elizabeth Smythe on January 22, 2013

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