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National Work-Life Week

Embargoed for release 23rd September 2013.

The note ‘embargoed for release’ is a note to a journalist so they know not to publish the story until the date specified.

Employment specialists The HR Dept are encouraging employers to support National Work-Life Week 2013 in partnership with Working Families. According to a vast amount of research conducted recently, working parents are not a happy bunch. Working Families ‘Time, Health and the Family Survey 2012’ found that working parents do not leave on time (41%) and findings by the TUC also revealed that just one in 172 working fathers take paternity leave.

As a family-friendly company themselves, The HR Dept comments: “The problem often lies with the employee themselves being fearful of making a flexible working request. Employees are still feeling vulnerable in their jobs and remain cautious of either ‘rocking the boat’ or fear a backlash from colleagues. From an HR perspective, an employee with at least 26 weeks continuous employment has the right to make a request for flexible working as well as the right to have it seriously considered by the employer. Whilst employers are obliged to seriously consider the request, they are not obliged to accept the request but must give genuine business reasons why it has been rejected.”

Bringing the focus back to the needs of the business, many small businesses may claim it is difficult for them to create a flexible working environment. However, depending on the nature of the business, the number of staff etc, employers may be able to allow employees to work from home and to work staggered hours where an employee has different start, finish and break times from other workers. An alternative could be introducing ‘flexitime’ where an employee can choose when they start and end work every day but must be present within ‘core hours’ e.g. between 10am and 4pm every day. Naturally business owners will need to consider the day to day operations of the business.

Employers that are struggling with flexible working requests or arrangements should contact The HR Dept for expert HR and employment advice.

The HR Dept specialises in advising small and medium sized businesses on all employment issues.

Date:
Wednesday, July 17, 2013