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Clegg should focus on business benefits of flexible working - REC

Clegg should focus on business benefits of flexible working - REC

Responding to a speech on flexible working by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg today in which he announced the extension of the right to request flexible work to all employees the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC)’s chief executive Kevin Green says:

“In focusing his announcement on the benefits to working parents Nick Clegg is approaching the issue of flexible working from the wrong angle.

“Businesses should consider more flexible working patterns for all their staff not because it’s seen as a benefit to workers but because there are solid, hard-headed business reasons for doing so. Our research found that employers can reduce absenteeism, improve staff morale and productivity and are better able to attract and retain top talent if they adopt more flexible working arrangements. Recruiters can help employers to embed flexible working practices and review job design.

“More government regulation isn’t the solution to making this behaviour more widespread, and it could actually hinder it. Most employers say informal negotiation between line managers and staff is the preferred route to flexibility and some see extensions to the right to request as a regulatory risk. In the end, it’s all about workplace culture – and that’s something you have to foster, role-model and encourage, it’s very hard to achieve with legislation.”

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