Flexible working policies failing employees
On the 30th June 2014 the Government extended the Flexible Working Policy to all employees under section 47 of the Employment Act 2002.
While this adjustment in statutory rights was deemed to many as an evolution in the workplace, there has been little enquiry as to the number of employers which have embraced the policy. Moreover there has been no full Government review or independent commission as to how many organisations have actioned the policy.
Furthermore, the Flexible Working Policy itself is somewhat weak in its support for employees as employers have the right to refuse any flexible working request on subjective grounds, such as the burden of additional costs on the business, or having a detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demand.
It appears that a Flexible Working Policy can be seen as more of a goodwill gesture to employees, rather than a cornerstone in evolving the workplace and even when a policy is in place, it doesn’t mean it is actioned or supported in all organisations.
Liberty Mind recently conducted a survey to fully understand the impact on people who do not have access to flexible working, and how their lives have been affected by the restrictions of rigid working hours.
This survey has revealed that 67% of employees have missed major life events due to a lack of flexible working within their organisation and a staggering 40% had missed hospital or health-related appointments, while 15% had missed moving house, 10% had missed a child’s school activity and 8% had missed a family funeral.
Founder of Liberty Mind, Lizzie Benton, commented that
The Government’s Flexible Working Policy may be in place, but that doesn’t mean it is actioned or supported in all organisations. This data reveals that there is a far wider impact on employees lives when organisations restrict the possibility of flexible working.
Major life events play a significant role in our emotional and mental wellbeing, and the relationships connected to these have a critical impact on our wellbeing, so why are we creating organisations that are limiting them?