Flexible working ‘reduces absence and boosts productivity’

CIPD calls for flexible working extension

Flexible working supports employee motivation and can help reduce absence levels, according to employers.

A report published this week by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows that 96% of employers provide flexible working arrangements to at least some employees.

Of those that do, 70% of employers report that flexible working supports employee retention, motivation and engagement.

Almost two thirds of firms say flexible working supports their recruitment activities and half believe it has a positive impact on reducing absence.

The report, Flexible working: provision and uptake, also shows that six in ten employees with no managerial responsibility who do not work flexibly would like to do so.

Only 4% of employers report having difficulties complying with the current right to request flexible working legislation, which was introduced 10 years ago.

CIPD is calling on the government to extend this right to all employees.

Ben Willmott, head of public policy at CIPD, said the body has long been calling for this despite concerns that the legislation is burdensome for businesses, fears he claims have been proved “unfounded”.

He said: “The argument for extending the right to request to all employees is based on a broad business case.

“From the employee perspective, flexible working is linked to higher levels of employee engagement and wellbeing. Our report finds that employees satisfied with their work-life balance are more likely to be engaged and less likely to say they are under excessive pressure.”

Willmott added: “Put simply, flexible working works for business, and the Government should hold its nerve and go ahead with the extension to all employees. The result will be good news for business, employers and the wider economy.”

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