The 2019 Conservative Party Manifesto committed the Party to:
encouraging flexible working and consulting on making it the default unless employers have good reasons not to
and that is exactly what the Government is doing now with the publication of its consultation on flexible working which will run for 10 weeks until 1 December 2021 and is available here:
Flexible working as the default from day one in a job, unless there is obviously good reason to refuse it, is something the CDG have been campaigning on – and something which the pandemic normalised virtually overnight. It is vital that as we emerge from the pandemic and its restrictions that we do not lose the right to work flexibly.
The current law allows employees the right to request flexible working from a presumption against flexibility. The CDG have always argued that we should be asking whether the job can not be done flexibly - and to allow flexible working where possible. This simple change will open up employment opportunities to a whole new talent pool that includes disabled people and carers. Flexible working also improves everyone’s work/life balance and therefore supports good mental wellbeing as well.
Flexible working does not simply mean home working – although it often does mean that. It can also mean flexible hours, different shift times around caring responsibilities or medical interventions, job shares etc. For some disabled people who maybe able to do 90% of a job role – it can also mean readjusting job descriptions among the team so everyone plays to their strengths; a less well known, but extremely effective form of reasonable adjustment.
The new Government consultation will cover a range of working arrangements around the time, place and hours of work, including part-time working, flexi-time, or compressed hours, not just working from home. This consultation will be published later this year, with legislation to follow when Parliamentary time allows. This really is a welcome step and demonstrates the Government’s desire to deliver on its manifesto commitment to protect and enhance workers’ rights.
If you are passionate about flexible working – make sure you have your say in this vital consultation.
Written by Michelle Lowe on behalf of the Conservative Disability Group