So from today up to 20 million employees will gain the right to request more flexible working hours as the right, previously only available to carers, or people who look after children, is now extended to all employees who have worked for their employers for more than 26 weeks.

Those who know these things have suggested that this new right will be of particular interest to those approaching retirement and, at the other end of the scale, to young people joining the labour market who may want to also continue with some ongoing education.

Nick Clegg reckons that flexible working boosts productivity and staff morale and helps businesses to keep top talent, enabling them to grow. He says ‘It’s about time we brought working practices bang up to date with the needs, and choices, of modern families’. (Not to mention gaining a few votes for the general election next year).

Now before everyone jumps up and down in excitement there are a couple of things about which you need to be aware:

  • An employee can only make one application per year; and
  • Employers do not have to grant the request if they can prove that it would cause disruption to their business.

As always most silver linings come equipped with their very own cloud!

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