Call for timetable on flexible rights

The TUC is calling for a firm timetable from the government on how it plans to make access to flexible working fairer.

Flexible Working


The TUC is calling for the Government to set out a timetable on how it will make flexible working available in all jobs with a day one right to request, backed by a right to appeal any rejections.

It says that while regular homeworking has tripled in the UK since before the pandemic, many employers are still trialling new working arrangements and negotiating long-term policies with staff. Moreover, some people are now being denied homeworking requests without their employer giving them a genuinely good reason for the refusal and others have received negative treatment from their employer as a result of working flexibly. Meanwhile, it says yet others are being forced to work from home when they don’t want to in order to cut costs.

It wants employers to provide homeworking staff with the equipment and support needed to do their jobs, including reasonable adjustments for disabled workers. And it says they must also find ways to help facilitate union rights under different models of flexible working.

The TUC’s analysis shows that it is only homeworking that has increased substantially in the last two years. For other types of flexible working, there has been little change. Part-time work has reduced between 2019 and 2021, as have annualised hours, term-time working and job shares. Moreover, those who have benefited most from homeworking have been people in higher paid occupations. The TUC says that to prevent class and geographic inequality, the government must urgently act on its promise to improve flexible working rights across the board.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Everyone should have access to flexible working. But while homeworking has grown, people in jobs that can’t be done from home have been left behind. They deserve access to flexible working too. And they need new rights to options like flexitime, predictable shifts, and job shares.

“Homeworkers also need better legal protection. It’s great that some employers are much more supportive now, but many others are still behind the times, turning down homeworking requests without good reason.

“The government promised to modernise employment law to make flexible working options the norm for every job. But Boris Johnson has cancelled plans for an employment bill this year. And it is mostly people in working-class jobs who are left out. That’s not fair – ministers must step up and do what they promised.”

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