CIPD urges government to provide flexible working for all

Small businesses should not be exempt from proposed reforms, says Institute


Flexible working must be made compulsory for businesses of all sizes by 2015.

That is according to The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), which has urged the government to follow through with proposed employee benefits reforms.

If the reforms are enacted, legislation will be introduced by 2015 to give all workers the right to request flexible working packages.

However, there has been mounting pressure to exempt micro-businesses and start-ups from the proposals, which include flexible parental leave, flexible working and equal pay.

But speaking in response to the consultation on Modern Workplaces, CIPD’s employee relations adviser Mike Emmott stressed that flexible working is not just a ‘perk’ for parents and carers, and carries genuine business benefits for organisations of all sizes.

Mr Emmott expressed concern that exempting some companies would risk creating a two-tier workforce, between large and small employers.

This follows recent research by the CIPD which revealed that 54% of UK jobseekers would prioritise a new employer who is offering better pay and benefits, over one which would deliver job satisfaction.

Emmott said: “The truth is that many employers – large and small – have anticipated the government’s proposal and are willing to consider requests from any employee. They see the business benefits of helping employees balance their work with their personal commitments, at a time when organisations need to be driving competitive edge through their people.

“We believe that the flexible working regulations are a great example of light-touch legislation and we see no case for excluding micro-businesses and start-ups when the regulations are extended. Excluding businesses of any size from the application of employment regulation would tend towards the creation of a two-tier labour market and could be a perverse disincentive for small businesses to expand.”

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