What’s the reaction to the new flexible working law?

Earlier this year, the law on flexible working was changed, and today, any employee has the right to request flexible working arrangements from their employer. But what’s been the reaction to the change in law?

Before the new law came into effect, some employees without children – as well as employers and managers – perceived working parents as being less dedicated to their role.

Leaving work early (or even just on time), starting later and working remotely to fit around childcare often led to mums and dads missing out on promotions, being sidelined on important projects and even getting fired.

But with the change in law opening up new working options to the entire UK workforce, have these common misconceptions finally been put to bed, or is it too soon to tell still?

May employees were unaware of the old law

To find out, conference calling company, Powwownow recently conducted a survey on the opinions of UK workers on the law change, and the subject of flexible working generally.

Surprisingly, almost half of the people surveyed were completely unaware of the flexible working law that was already in place for carers and parents.

The new law though, was very well received. Less than a week after it came into effect, almost 10% of respondents said they had submitted a request for flexible working, while over a third stated that they were considering doing so in the future.

But still, the most common reason given for requesting flexible working hours (41.3% of respondents) was childcare. Reasons include:

  • Babysitting.
  • The school run.
  • General school activities and meetings.

(The second most common reason, at 16.5% was medical issues.)

Flexible working is good news for everyone

For employees, the introduction of equal flexible working opportunities can only be a good thing. Finally every person has the right to request working arrangements that enable them to enjoy a better work-life balance – whether they are parents or carers or not.

And as research shows, not only does flexible working improve staff retention and satisfaction, but employees working flexibly are often more productive than their colleagues – which can only be good news for employers too!

Want to read more about the change in law?

You can read more about the response to the change in the flexible working law, and the issues that arise from it, in these articles and news stories:

Want to request flexible working? You can find out more on the ACAS website.