The Government’s proposal to give all employees the right to request flexible working when they start new jobs could see thousands of employers wrong-footed and ill-prepared warns UK communications specialists, Uplands Communications.
The Flexible Working Bill was put to Parliament at the end of 2021 with the plan designed to allow UK employees to request a flexible working arrangement from their very first day at a new employer. At the moment, workers have to wait until they have been in their role for six months before raising the possibility of flexible working.
If the Government’s consultation on the matter is successful, every employee in the UK will be given the right to request flexible working, regardless of time served. The proposals would also require bosses to respond to requests for flexible working more quickly than the current maximum of three months and it would force firms to explain why any requests were refused.
Paul Hooper, Managing Director of Uplands Communications, which is based in Wales, said:
“Businesses across the UK have worked hard under very testing circumstances both to safeguard their workforces during the pandemic and to keep their businesses afloat. One of the many challenges they have faced has been the wholesale shift to flexible working. This move has, as we have seen, brought some benefits and some very nuanced challenges. It has impacted the way workplaces function, the way customers and clients interact with business, the way people cope emotionally and socially and from our point of view, here at Uplands Communications, we have seen many firms working flat out to meet the new technical challenges that home-working creates. We have been on hand to help with many of these issues and it seems clear that home working or hybrid working is very much here to stay.
If this Bill is adopted it will really embed hybrid working as a norm. Added to this, of course, is the fact that the future progress of the pandemic remains unknown and this will have an impact upon the way we work and where we work. Some of the things we have been supporting employers with in recent months in direct response to hybrid and home working are business mobile tariffs with flexible contract terms, hosted telephony, mobile WI-FI, Microsoft Teams with VOIP Integration and other smart collaboration tools and savvy security measures to protect your business data. We have a number of solutions that can easily be set up remotely to keep colleagues connected in a way that enables the smooth running of the business and I expect us to be increasingly busy into 2022 and beyond.”