Extension to flexible working confirmed

The government has confirmed it will press ahead with plans to extend the right to request flexible working hours to 4.5 million extra people.
However the Confederation of British Industry has expressed concern at the timing of the changes, which come into effect in April 2009.
The extension allows all parents with children aged up to 16 years to ask for changes to their working hours to fit in with their family life.
Currently only those with children aged six years or under, or 18 years if the child has a disability, have the right to request varied hours.
CBI deputy director-general, John Cridland, said the decision to implement this policy in April, rather than later in the year is a mistake.
He said: “It will place an extra administrative burden on companies at a difficult time, when they are already struggling to cope with the economic downturn.”
Back in October, business secretary Peter Mandelson, had said that he was considering concerns raised by business leaders about the potential extra costs that the extension of the right to flexible working would entail just at a time when they are having to deal with an economic downturn. However, the government has decided to press ahead with the extension of flexible working.
Jackie Orme, Chartered Instutute of Personnel Development chief executive, said: “A delay to ‘reduce burdens’ on business would have sent out the completely the wrong message, and would have damaged efforts to make the substantial business case for flexible working.”