UK - Employers are granting almost eight out of 10 flexible working requests from parents with young children, new government statistics show.
The survey of 3500 employees – carried out by the Office of National Statistics – showed parents were increasingly opting towards flexible working hours.
Since last April almost a quarter of parents with young and disabled children surveyed have requested flexible working hours – introduced by government a year ago.
While employers do not have to agree to flexible working, they must show they have “examined the request seriously”.
The report shows that 60% of parents with children under six years of age were aware of the new flexible working rights, with employees in sales and customer services most likely to request the benefit (19%).
Employers were found to be increasingly backing the sch-eme with over three-quarters of requests fully accepted by bosses, and a further 9% reaching a compromise with the employee.
Trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt said: “Employ-ers have sent out a signal of support for flexible working and this should give more parents the confidence to raise the issue with their boss either informally or through the new right.”
British Telecom claims the introduction of a wide-ranging portfolio of flexible working has achieved productivity gains of £10m a year, recruitment and sickness absence savings of more than £7m a year and accommodation savings of £40m.
BT people networks director Caroline Waters said: “At BT we have seen the benefits of flexible working drive up productivity, reduce operating costs and improve the health and happiness of our people.”
The Equal Opportunities Commission welcomed the findings of the survey but urged the government to extend flexible working to parents of older children and people who care for older relatives.
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