The Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development has launched a campaign for a right to flexible working from day one in a job.
Nearly half of employees don’t have flexible working arrangements in their current role, according to a new study by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development.
A survey of over 2,000 employees found 46% had no flexible working, including flexi-time, part-time working, compressed hours or job shares, and 44% have not been able to work from home since the pandemic began [mostly because their job means they can’t], with the CIPD noting a growing flexible working divide in the country. It has launched a new campaign, #FlexFrom1st, encouraging employers to support flexible working for all and the right to request flexible working from day one of employment. To reinforce these principles, the CIPD is also calling for a change in law to make the right to request flexible working a day-one right for all employees.
The CIPD also found:
– Around a fifth (19%) of employees say they work for organisations that do not offer any flexible working arrangements
– More than two in five (41%) employees say it’s unfair that some people can work from home while others have to continue to attend their place of work and have little flexibility in how they work
– Three quarters (75%) of employees agree that it is important that people who can’t work from home can work flexibly in other ways
– Less than a third (30%) of employers are planning to try to increase the uptake of other forms of flexible working besides home working over the next six to 12 months. In contrast, nearly half of organisations (47%) plan to take steps to enable more home and hybrid working over the same period.
However, half of employers (50%) say they will be more likely to grant requests for flexible working, besides working from home, once the pandemic restrictions have been relaxed.
Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, said: “While many have hailed the pandemic as a driver for the adoption of flexible working practices, particularly around home working, the reality for many is that this is not the case. We need a new understanding about what flexible working is and we need employers to embrace flexible working arrangements beyond home working, to give opportunity and choice to all. Employees may not always be able to change where they work, but they should have more choice and a say in when and how they work.
“Being able to build in flexible working arrangements, such as changes to hours, term-time working or job shares, will empower people to have greater control and flexibility in their working life. This is good for inclusion and opening up opportunities to people who have other constraints in being able to work standard hour weeks or in getting to a place of work. But it’s also good for people’s wellbeing and productivity. Fairness of opportunity in working flexibly ensures organisations do not end up with divisions or a two-tier workforce.”
The CIPD is encouraging employers to work in collaboration with their employees to find flexible solutions that are mutually beneficial.
The CIPD research shows there is also a significant gap between the arrangements employees currently use compared to those that they would use if offered. Flexi-time is currently used by 21% of employees, yet desired by 39%, while part-time hours (four days or less) are currently used by 19%, yet desired by 28%. Just 3% of employees reported that they currently use compressed hours (working full-time hours in fewer days), while 19% would use this arrangement if available.
In addition to calling for a day one right to flexible working response, the CIPD is calling on employers to implement internal policies that allow their employees to request flexible working from day one of employment; to advertise that they are open to flexible working in job adverts; and on the government to revisit the business reasons for rejection of flexible working and the fact that you can only make one flexible working request in a year.