Staff more enlightened on flexible working rights

Employees are becoming more switched on about their right to request flexible working, according to research by the Department of Trade and Industry. The DTI’s second Flexible working employee survey 2005 revealed nearly 65% of the UK’s workforce know of their right to request flexible work arrangements, up from 41% in 2003, when the right was formalised.

The most common requests are for part-time and flexible hours. The proposal is most popular with parents of young children, with nearly a quarter of working parents with dependants asking for more malleable work arrangements. Overall 14% of all staff have put in requests, with 19% of women and 10% of male workers asking for more flexible work.

Employers appear to be quite agreeable, with the number of declined requests almost halved from 2003, with just 11% of requests turned down compared with 20% two years ago. The younger the dependent, understandably, the higher the demand for flexible conditions, with parents with children under six (22%), between six and 11 (18%), and between 12 and 16 (15%) making more requests than those without dependent children (10%).

Gender is key to the type of flexible work requested, with female employees more likely to ask for part-time work compared with a male preference for flexible time.

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