12 Nov 2012 13:11
PwC comments on reports that the Government will unveil proposals to extend the right to flexible working to all employees.
Ed Stacey, head of employment at PwC Legal, said:
“Any proposals that support greater opportunities for flexible working are a positive step and will help to create a more balanced workforce. But in order for the proposals to work, there will need to be a major change in the attitudes of some employers. There are still examples of men being treated less favourably than women when making flexible working requests and employers will need to work hard to drive a real culture shift.
“Smaller employers will face the biggest challenge from the proposals as agreeing to flexible working requests will not always meet their business needs and could place an unfair burden on full time staff. A suitable balance needs to be struck between supporting greater flexibility for workers and encouraging more women back into the workplace, and ensuring smaller employers are not placed under undue pressure.”
Dawn Nicholson, HR consulting partner at PwC, said:
“Giving employees greater control over how and when they work arguably gives them a greater sense of empowerment, which can in turn lead to greater productivity and engagement in the workforce.
“Many employers have already extended the right to request flexible working to all employees, but constrained employee resources and a difficult environment mean bringing these policies to life is much harder in reality. Employers need to do more to help their managers better respond to flexible working requests, taking into account workload and other resources in their teams.
“This raises questions on how you fairly compensate someone on a flexible working arrangement. The standard approach of apportioning pay might need to be reviewed and replaced by companies rewarding flexible workers more closely based on their outputs and productivity levels. The apportionment approach, while practically easy to implement, may not be rewarding employees fairly for that they are contributing.
“The proposal to allow mothers and fathers to share maternity/paternity leave is a welcome move, but the government needs to ensure it does not place unduly onerous compliance and tracking requirements on companies.”
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