CBI reports increase in flexible working

Flexible working is on the increase with nine out of ten employers (95%) offering at least one form of flexible working practice, according to the CBI.

The Employee Trends Survey 2007 carried out by CBI in association with employment agency Pertemps, revealed that 60% of firms now offer staff more than three forms of flexible working, compared to 35% two years ago.

The biggest change has been in teleworking, where staff work from home or on the move. This is now offered by 46% of employers, compared to 11% in 2004.

Part-time work is the most common form of flexible working followed by job sharing. Part-time work is offered by 91% of employers, up from 84% in 2004. Job sharing is also on the increase and is offered by 55% of employers, up from 38% in 2004.

There has also been an increase in the percentage of requests accepted for flexible working following the extension of the right to request flexible working in April to include more than two million carers. Employers granted over nine out of ten requests ,94% from parents and 93% from carers, compared to 92% of requests from parents in 2004.

The survey of 500 firms also uncovered that, on average, 3% of employees in a workplace at any one time, are temporary, but the CBI†warned that the flexibility afforded to employers of this form of work could be put at risk if new EU proposals get the green light.

The TUC congress and EU are pressing forward proposals by the Portuguese president for temporary agency staff to be put on an equal footing with permanent employees after six weeks of service. The CBI claim that if the new Brown government does not resist this pressure, 250,000 UK temporary placements could be put at risk.

The CBI’s deputy-director general, John Cridland, said: “Hundreds of thousands of jobs will be put at risk unless Gordon Brown rejects it outright, or at least insists on a qualifying period of a year before full employment rights apply to a temporary post.”