Labour outlines flexible working plans

Labour has set out its plans for flexible working to be a default day one right while the Government has published a National Disability Strategy.

keyboard with 'flexible' working


Labour has published plans to make flexible working a default day one right, meaning employers have to accommodate it if there is no reason a job cannot be done flexibly.

It is also calling for the end of “one-sided flexibility” so all workers “have stable, secure employment and mutually-agreed predictable working hours and shift patterns”.

The party emphasises that flexible working includes flexible hours (‘flexi-time’), compressed hours, staggered hours, annualised hours and flexibility around school runs and other family and caring responsibilities, including childcare during school holidays rather than just remote working.

Its plans also include a ‘right to switch off’ and disconnect from work at home outside of working hours and greater access to workplaces, including to home workers, for trade unions.

Labour’s Deputy Leader and Shadow Secretary of State for the Future of Work Angela Rayner said: “Labour will make flexible working a force for good so that everyone is able to enjoy the benefits of flexible working, from a better work-life balance to less time commuting and more time with their family.

“The ‘new normal’ after this pandemic must mean a new deal for all working people based on flexibility, security and strengthened rights at work.

“The right to flexible working will change our economy and the world of work for the better, stop women losing out at work or even dropping out of the workforce altogether, end the sexist assumption of dad being at work in the office and mum looking after the kids at home and improve the lives of millions of workers.”

Earlier this week, Labour set out plans for all workers to be given basic rights to holiday pay and the minimum wage from day one of employment.

Meanwhile, the Government has launched a National Disability Strategy, which includes a section on work. It cites a 28 percentage point gap in the employment rate of working age disabled people compared with working age non-disabled people.

It outlines proposals to improve support for disabled people to start or stay in work, including the creation of an Access to Work Adjustments Passport to support disabled people with their transition into employment, including disabled students leaving education; a review of the Disability Confident scheme, promoting the Voluntary Reporting Framework and consulting on taking this further, and disseminating best practice to employers; and scaling up supported employment services and strengthening workplace rights, for instance, unpaid carers leave, flexible working and access to advice on employment rights. The strategy will also look at how to provide extra support to disabled people who want to start a business and more opportunities for disabled people in the Civil Service and armed forces.

The strategy drew on a survey of more than 14,000 individuals. However, some disability campaigners and charities say they were not consulted about the survey and that it was poorly constructed.

In other news, the number of people from ethnic minority backgrounds in prominent public positions has more than doubled in the past four years, according to analysis from campaign group Operation Black Vote (OBV). The analysis shows that there were 73 black, Asian, and minority ethnic faces in the UK’s top political, public, cultural and media sectors on July 23rd, more than twice the 36 public figures found in 2017.

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