Policy News Journal - 2014-15

There are many different types of flexible working, ranging from part-time working, compressed hours or just varying start and finish times. Benefits to businesses adopting flexible working include access to a wider pool of skills and talents in the workforce, increased productivity and improved recruitment and retention rates.

Research by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills estimates in their Impact Assessment that the anticipated benefits to business include:

 Higher productivity (£36.8m);  Lower labour turnover (£8.4m), and  Reduced absenteeism (£1.4m)

Acas has published the responses to its consultation on a new Code of Practice and guidance on flexible working. The consultation asked employers for their views on the draft Code and good practice guidance to help manage flexible working requests.

A new revised draft Code of Practice has been published and also the following guide for employers:

 Handling requests to work flexibly in a reasonable manner – January 2014

Acas has made a number of changes to the Code following the consultation including:

 Additional detail in paragraph 3 of the Code on the information required to make a flexible working request.  Removing the term "presumptions of approval" which some respondents felt was misleading in applicants believing their approval was almost certain, but emphasising the importance of careful examination of requests and the fact that they can be rejected only on the basis set out in legislation/justifiable reasons for rejection.  Respondents identified six common themes which they would like to see in the accompanying good practice guidance: o how to handle multiple requests, prioritisation issues and being fair o avoiding discrimination in deciding a request o providing an explanation of the business reasons that are to be considered in requests - what do they mean, with examples o refusing a request and giving how much information to divulge o appeals against refusal and guidance on managing this process o how to use trial periods and reviews after agreeing a change to check out if a flexible working request is feasible. It is intended that the right to work flexibly will be introduced as part of the Children and Families Bill which is expected to receive royal assent by the end of January 2014. The new Code of Practice will then be brought in, hopefully by April 2014.

Children and Families Act 2014 approved by Parliament

19 March 2014

Shared Parental Leave and extending the right to request flexible working to all employees are two of the measures brought in under the Act to help individuals balance their work, home and family life.

From April 2015, mothers, fathers and adopters can opt to share parental leave around their child’s birth or placement. This gives families more choice over taking leave in the first year -

CIPP Policy News Journal

08/04/2015, Page 54 of 521

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