Workforce Management News: UK Government to Launch Consultation on Flexible Working
Proposed changes include allowing new employees to request flexible working
The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is expected to publish a consultation document this week outlining proposed changes to flexible working rules in the UK. It will cover various forms of flexible working, including working from home, part-time work and job shares.
Current regulations in the UK require employees to have been with their current employer for six months before they can make a statutory request for flexible working. Employers must deal with requests in a reasonable manner, respond within three months, and provide a valid business reason if they deny it.
The new proposals are expected to make a number of changes. Firstly, it is thought that they would enable staff to request flexible working from the first day at a new job. The three-month limit organisations have to respond to these requests is also likely to be shortened.
Although these changes are a step towards making flexible working more of a standard practice, they would still allow employers to deny requests. However, if staff have worked at home over the pandemic without significant negative impact, this will obviously make it more difficult for companies to argue a valid business reason for denying such a request.
Ultimately, organisations should open a dialogue with their workforce so they can discuss individual preferences. Flexible working should be offered where possible not because of government regulations, but because it is best for both employers and employees.
Allowing staff to work how they want enables them to be more productive and engaged. It provides a much better work-life balance, and can even be a salary increase in real terms if it reduces commuting. Organisations also stand a much better chance of recruiting and retaining talented employees, as flexible working becomes increasingly commonplace.
Bodet’s Time & Attendance Systems enable you to offer a wide range of flexible working types without losing workforce visibility and productivity, or increasing HR administration. Even with complex arrangements such as flexitime, managers can receive automated alerts if required hours aren’t met, and staff can monitor the hours they’ve worked.
Homeworking shifts are highlighted on schedules, and benefit from specific reporting. You can also create a separate authorisation process for remote working, and customise rules to ensure alignment with your company policies.
To discuss how our Time & Attendance Solutions can help with flexible working in your organisation, please contact us.