Plans to make it easier for people to balance work and family life were set out by Employment Relations Minister Edward Davey today (30 September 2010).
The Minister signalled the Government's intention to bring forward proposals to create more flexible, family friendly workplaces. He announced that:
- the right to request flexible working will be extended to parents of children under 18 from April 2011 – benefiting nearly 300,000 more people;
- a consultation will be launched later this year looking at how to extend the right to request flexible working to all employees, and the design of a new system of flexible parental leave.
He said that the Government "will be launching a consultation later this year to make sure the law better supports real families juggling work and family life, and the businesses that employ them".
"This immediate change will give parents of all children regardless of age the same right to request flexible working. It will also make it simpler for employers and employees to identify whether they are eligible to make a request.
"The plans we'll unveil later this year are much more ambitious but these interim measures will help us learn valuable lessons and are an important first step."
The Coalition's "programme for government" states that:
"We will extend the right to request flexible working to all employees, consulting with business on how best to do so."
"We will encourage shared parenting from the earliest stages of pregnancy – including the promotion of a system of flexible parental leave."
"We will review employment and workplace laws, for employers and employees, to ensure they maximise flexibility for both parties while protecting fairness and providing the competitive environment required for enterprise to thrive."