Firms throughout the West Midlands have been put on alert over a radical shake-up of flexi-time which could transform the working landscape across the region.
Conciliation service Acas is currently undertaking a consultation on a new draft Code of Practice on the extended right to request flexible working.
Under the Government’s proposals, announced in November last year, the right to request flexible working will be extended to all employees who have worked for their employer for 26 weeks or more. Employers are obliged to consider all requests in a reasonable manner.
The current statutory procedure will be repealed and the Government has asked Acas to produce a Code of Practice to help businesses manage this new extended right.
Acas is seeking views from employees and employers, particularly small businesses who often don’t have HR support and may face challenges in managing flexible working requests.
On a visit to Birmingham, ACAS chief executive Anne Sharp welcomed the proposed new Code on flexi-working.
“There are benefits for everybody involved, and we are trying to consult on the Code well in advance.
“Flexible working is becoming more and more popular – people used to think about it as a perk. If you look at small companies who do not have their own HR departments, we can help provide them with support.
“Flexi-time is already used by 30 per cent of people (in the workplace) – there are a lot more people working from home, and there are people who work permanently from home and have sophisticated IT systems to enable them to do that.
“When it works well, it absolutely benefits organisations. I am not aware of it being a source of dispute at all.”
The closing date for responses to the draft Code is May 20, following a 12-week consultation period.