More than half employers agree flexible requests should be day-one right

7 December 2021

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has added its voice to calls for more flexible working.

It has published the results of a survey showing that the majority (57%) of employers agree that the right to request flexible working should be a day-one right.

Agreement is highest from those in the public sector (69%), it points out, compared to those in the private sector (54%). In addition, larger organisations of 250+ employees were more likely to agree than SMEs (62% compared to 51%).

Before responding to the Government’s (now closed) flexible working consultation, the CIPD surveyed over 1000 UK employers.

It found that 36% of organisations already accept requests for flexible working from day one of employment and that 42% say they will be more likely to grant requests for flexible working, besides working from home, once pandemic restrictions have been relaxed, compared to before Covid-19.

Just 7% of employers said they would be less likely to do so.

Asked if employers should be required to show that they have considered alternative working arrangements when rejecting a statutory request for flexible working, 74% agreed.

CIPD chief executive, Peter Cheese, said: “A day-one right to request will require employers to think about how jobs can be done flexibly, and encourage them to promote jobs and roles as open to flexible working. This will not only better meet the changing expectations of employees, but also help to attract more diverse talent giving more opportunity and choice to all.”

Comment by Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula

The significant changes in attitudes towards flexible working has been felt by many organisations across the UK, following the impact of Covid restrictions and mandatory homeworking requirements.

Businesses have successfully leveraged the opportunity to adapt to new ways of working and integrated this into daily practices.

As a result, satisfaction and motivation is increased among employees who feel they have a better work-life balance, which in turn is improving productivity and retention rates.

To ensure continued success in the modern working environment, organisations must recognise the importance of flexible working arrangements and implement measures to allow this as an option for their employees.