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Is flexible working to become compulsory?

Flexible working

Businesses are increasingly including and considering relaxing their flexible working policies in favour of just “getting the job done” and worrying less about “what hours the job needs to be done in”.

Flexible working is still very much considered a perk rather than a part of regular working life. We covered this in our article Employee perks that benefit both the Employer and Employee. We said: “Work-life-balance is fundamental to employees and catering to this is paramount. Flexible working allows employees to fit their life around their work or vice-versa, such as childcare which eases one of life’s many stresses. Happy, non-stressed employees make for more loyal, healthy and productive workers.” Should it be more than a perk and be a given instead?

Flexible Working Bill

This is exactly what Conservative MP Helen Whately has been campaigning for. The passionate MP pleaded her case in Parliament in July and introduced a flexible working bill. Whately said it would close the gender pay gap, help working parents and ensure businesses retain their staff.

She argued that there is no reason flexibility cannot be offered to every job, unless there is a strong business case not to.

Whately said: “The 40-hour, five-day working week made sense in an era of single-earner households and stay-at-home mums, but it no longer reflects the reality of how many modern families want to live their lives.

“At the moment, too many women are reluctantly dropping out of work or going part-time after having children because their employers won’t allow them flexibility.

“This entrenches the assumption that men are the breadwinners and women are the homemakers.

“As a result, men don’t get to spend as much time as they might like with their children, women miss out on career opportunities, and the country loses out on the contribution they could and would like to make – if only they could do slightly different hours or work some days from home.”

The bill has been given approval to go to a second reading. Read more about the new flexible working bill here.

Types of flexible working can include:

  • Job-sharing
  • Working from home
  • Part-time
  • Compressed hours
  • Flexitime
  • Annualised hours
  • Staggered hours
  • Phased retirement

While it is unlikely this motion will become law any time soon, it raises a very important point which many employers could take on board, whether forced to or not.

A few jobs we have on our list that include flexible working include:

If you are an employer looking to fill a job, the perks and practices you put in place could be the difference between securing a good candidate compared to your competitor.

Likewise, if you are a candidate seeking a new opportunity, consider if flexible working is something that would benefit your work/life balance.

Find out how to speed up your recruitment initiatives to secure valuable candidates here