Workers To Be Able To Ask For Flexible Hours
New mothers will be able to share leave with their partners and all workers will have the right to flexible hours under radical reforms.
Changes announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will mean mothers could return to work two weeks after childbirth and hand over their leave to the father.
Every employee in the country will also be given the right to ask for flexible hours to encourage different work patterns for parents and help more women back into work.
Mr Clegg believes that enabling relatives and friends of working parents to alter their working patterns will boost the economy.
The Government estimates around a million women are effectively locked out of employment because of problems balancing work and childcare.
The plans to allow anyone to ask for flexible hours are an extension of the rights introduced in 2009 for parents of children aged 16 and under.
They also mean that grandparents will be able to apply so that they can look after their grandchildren.
Under the changes, a mother could decide to stop her maternity leave at any point and hand over the rest of the year to her partner instead.
Parents will be able to "chop up" time between them or take time off together, as long as no more than 12 months is taken in total and no more than nine at guaranteed pay.
Fathers-to-be will also be given a legal right to take unpaid leave to attend two antenatal appointments.
Mr Clegg will claim that the plans could transform opportunities for young people who want to start a family.
"You won't get to 30 and suddenly have to choose - motherhood or work - because we're making the changes that give you a route back," he has said.
The Lib Dem leader rethought the reforms after being warned that extending paternity leave from the current two weeks would be too difficult for businesses.
Flexible leave will be reviewed by 2018 and extending paternity leave will be re-examined then, Mr Clegg has pledged.
"These are major reforms and, at a time of continuing economic difficulty, it's sensible to do them in a number of steps, rather than one giant leap," he added.
"More and more men are taking on childcare duties, or want to, and flexible leave builds on that."
A study last year of eligible parents showed 28% of women and 17% of men had asked to change their work patterns in the previous two years, with 80 to 90% of requests accepted.
At Odyssey Systems on Teesside, a telecommunications company with 30 employees, management says it has helped parents to change working hours, but extending the scheme to everyone will be a burden.
Sales director Christine Gilbert said: "We're still here because we think about customers first. To say that everybody in the whole company has to have flexible working is just going to be a massive managerial nightmare."
Adam Marshall, director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, believes the new proposals could cause "unnecessary friction" in the workplace and "unrealistic expectations about the level of flexibility most businesses will be able to accommodate".
But the TUC welcomed the proposals, with General Secretary Brendan Barber describing them as common sense.
He said: "These reforms will make life easier for millions of working parents. Businesses will also benefit from a more engaged workforce and a larger pool of people to recruit from."
The entitlement to ask for flexible hours will be introduced in 2014 at the earliest and employers will have to provide good reason for refusing a request.
what do you think?
Ring ring, hello, we have a fire and urgently need the fire brigade Sorry, they're on flexitime, can you wait until thursday
It's getting that way. What is sure to happen soon enough is you'll receive a response such as: "Due to the 'modernisation' of your fire and rescue service the nearest fire engine is 35 miles away, and may be a while" Scary
Only if you've got children, mm is this childish?
Society has collapsed today partly because children miss out on proper contact with one or both parents. Fobbing off your children to carers etc is not parenthood and this has a direct impact on a child's development. Furthermore, the parents too lose their ability to be parents so they haven't a clue how to raise their child properly. Parents should not strive to both return to work as soon as possible, nor should their employer or fellow employees struggle because they are forced to accommodate different hours for their sake. If you can't afford to raise a child on one income and you are forced to have both parents at work and if you can't accommodate a normal work pattern then don't have the child in the first place.
i couldnt think of a more narrow minded statement
I thought it was quite the opposite, RW.
Hate to say it, but Richard g has a point!
I wish we could all live in your bubble land of plenty.
If the Labour Party hadnt approved and encourged single mothers to have babies and offered prizes & free housing as their rights millions of young girls and the country wouldnt be in this mess, Im sure points mean prizes but was this book END OF MEN apt,. LABOURS 12 years rule and these poor families are paying a heavy price, and the millions employed on reduced contracts 3 days a week instead of 5 days wont get this ? world country back on its feet. Its going to take more than those 12 dreadful Labour years, anything to say MRs H.H
It shouldn`t create many problems, so many people are employed in occupations which serve no real purpose nowadays.
Which occupations do you mean Edgar?
I think he means all the cattle-poo job descriptions like ''systems support officer, technical response co-ordinator, sustainable development project manager, life coach'' etc. etc............
When I left school in 1955, the City of Coventry alone produced more cars than the country does now. We led the world in shipbuilding and we had an extensive aircraft industry, radio and television, machine tools, household appliances ! In 1947 we nationalised over 200 coalmines. What is left of it all ? There is currently a much bigger labour force than there was 60 - 70 years ago. Doing what ?
Back in the mist of time Edgar when you were young we also had rickets and ringworm, rationing, women 'who knew their place' etc. Shall we bring back 'the good ol' days' for those with a sentimental attachment to the past??
No Chris, just bring back the sensible bits.
Is there a politician with a brain? Smacks of LibDem and Labour I wonder if any of them have ever tried running a business - apart from all the form filling now you have to guess who in you work will be available. Idiots. Britain increasingly is not the place to do business
And where are these mythical jobs?
I should imagine this scheme would be the kiss of death to any hard working male with an eye to promotion, especially if the boss learns there will be an addition to the family.
Its a flippin` disaster that women should even have to think about returning to work when they have a baby - it goes against the natural process of birth, bonding and early development in the child and causes angst in the mother because of forced separation. They are only bringing this in now because they see it as some way to relieve the problem, but its going to cause real problems for industries.
Yes, it will cause real problems fo small to medium size businesses. And many of these employers wil think twice before recruiting newly married men and women.
What jobs are these then.
Another kick in the teeth for workers without young children, always been on the late shift at Christmas Eve, New Years Eve, etc. Always having shift patterns and plans mucked about with to accommodate working parents. Had enough now.
That's not really true is it. I have 3 young children and always work New Year's Eve and New Year's Day!
It's always been true for me and my wife. And having last pick of the holidays. Depends who you work for, though.
Angharad. Anywhere i have worked we did it fairly too. I always volunteered to work on New year when most of the folk without kids wanted off to go to parties, etc.In exchange i got christmas night or morning off. If everyone gets together and is open and fair, it's really not that difficult to work things to everyone's advantage. The trouble begins when peeople have resebtments that they are not open about and won't talk things through with colleagues. Those of us with kids usually understood that other people may not have children but have other families they want to be with.
You've both been very lucky, then. I've never found any democracy in the workplace as far as this issue is concerned, It's always been a case of the rota going up after the favoured few have been seen sneaking into the office.
You should either work or have a family. End of. Its a stupid idea that will put off alot of employers recruiting and I agree that most childless people will end up with the shifts the family people won't do.
I think that before any new mother is allowed to return to work, the name of the kid should be known and the mother's mental state assessed by it; If a mother calls her kid anything like Sparkles Vauxhall Cavalier or FiFi Carrier Bar they should be shipped off to the nuthouse and let a normal person have their job (for normal, read bloke) Too many mothers seem to lose their brains down the umbilical cord nowadays - since they've been allowed to vote and work, none of them seem to be able to cope any more. For a mob that reckon they excel at multi-taskng, they can't work, vote and name a kid, so they need to give one of them up Women; Work, Vote, Name Kids - pick two. And another thing, 'Baby on board' stickers are to tell the rest of us you're mentally challenged.
Not all mothers my kids are 31,29 and 25 normal names I didn't go back to work till they were in school and that was in a school so got holidays with them we struggled but worth it
What's a ridiculous sexist statement. Idiot. I have 3 children and currently am working 2 jobs and I have a perfectly functioning brain. And I do my fair share of Christmas and New Years shifts. I don't expect people without children to work them for me.
Bert, i give you a thumbs up for making me laugh when I needed it, even though I don't agree with most of. The name thing i do agree with. heh heh.
Hahaaaaa! I to loathe those car stickers, "princess on board" etc etc, and I also agree with the comment about the stupid names people name their offspring! Not all women are like that, mind, can't get cross with you, you made me laugh!
What worries me is the people with no children will end up with all the horrible hours
But that's not always the case! Most the other mummies I work with all agree do to some of the key holiday and late night shifts because we appreciate that everyone else has lives as well. Children or not! Maybe it's just where I work we all think fairly!
More state meddling in private businesses, it will back fire on the people it was meant to help as it always does when the state gets involved with private business. Less Govt & less taxes please, let free markets run & be free. Keep your nose out of private business.
Getting your own way at work is always at someone else's expense, unless as Edgar says, you're one of those who won't be missed. If you want the job, you do the hours.
Did I read that correctly ? Nine weeks guaranteed pay per couple ? What do the boffins propose to pay childless people by way of compensation for always being available for work ? This hasn't been thought through properly by a long way !
As i understand it, this is a proposal to estend the right to ask for flexible working, not of the right to work flexible hours. Employers will still be able to refuse but will have to explain why it cannot be accommodated in the workplacex
I have already, numerous times, heard of people asking for flexible working hours. Due to their own family requirements, it seems to work very well for them. Before they get their flexible hours of work, they tend to be stressed, always angry and depressed. I have noticed, after they get their flexible working hours, they become more relaxed, much happier, far more contented with life and do their work as well, if not better than before. Why should people be forced to work certain hours, if they don't have to? Some places might be more suitable for fixed working hours but some might not have to be.
This won't work for al lbusinesses but it can work very well. I worked in this way for the last fifteen years so i urge all those of you who own businesses not to dismiss it out of hand. Other european countries have this as a very common system of working and it seems to suit many people one you get used to it. One of the benefits to management is that workers can arrange health and other appointments in their own time.