CIPD slams the government for sending out the’ wrong message’ on flexible working

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has said suggestions the government it may back track on its plans extend the right to request flexible working to parents of older children “send out the wrong message” to employers.

It believes announcements made by business secretary Peter Mandelson that the government will look again at introducing the legislation because of the current economic climate are “spectacularly ill-timed.”

Jackie Orme, chief executive of the CIPD, said: “These reports send out completely the wrong message. They assume that flexible working is a burden on business, and the kind of charitable extra that can be cut back in tougher times. The reality is that flexible can deliver competitive advantage by improving employee engagement and attracting talented people to organisations that otherwise might remain outside the workforce.”

Although no decision have been made as yet, the government said it wants to look again at the appropriateness of new regulations in light of financial changes.The planned changes due to come into force next April would allow all parents of children up to the age of 16 to request flexible working hours. Currently, it is only open to parents of children aged up to six years old, or those with disabled children.