Govt seeks to improve parental flexitime

23-07-2008

Govt seeks to improve parental flexitime
New parents will be given greater access to flexitime under new government proposals, a report claims.

According to the Independent newspaper ministers are considering extending the right to ask for flexible working for parents with children up to the age of 16. This would improve the current limit, which bars such requests after children reach their sixth birthday.

The key is to be modern and fair," a senior Labour source told the newspaper.

"Many mums want to work and dads to see their kids, rather than work crazy hours."

Another proposed change is allowing the father to take a greater share of parental leave after the birth of a new baby.

Steps towards helping parents cope with the demands of raising a family while being in full employment have always been backed by the government.

Children's minister Beverly Hughes expressed her support for flexible working to be available to all last year, expanded from the 3.6 million parents of under-sixes to a further 2.8 million people who have a caring responsibility in April 2007.

The trend towards greater use of flexitime has been backed by the Conservative party, with David Cameron calling on employers and the government to create a new work culture that benefits the UK's 29 million-strong workforce.

Fewer than half of UK employees can work flexitime, compared to 90 per cent of those in mainland Europe. Similarly, one in five UK firms allow employees to work remotely, half the number of many European countries.

Today's measures will feature in discussions between Labour figures and union leaders this weekend.

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