Last Minute Change on the Right to Request Flexible Working

Posted: 23rd March 2011

Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced that the right to request flexible working will not now be extended to parents of children aged 17. The measure had been due to come into force on 6 April 2011. The right is currently available to parents of children aged under 17, parents of disabled children under 18 and carers of certain adults.

The decision is one of several measures included in the Government’s ‘Growth Review’, which aims to allow businesses to expand, free from overly burdensome regulations. The number of employees that would have benefited from raising the upper age limit to 18 was estimated at 288,000.
The Government had already announced that the right to request time off to train would not be extended this April to employees of firms with fewer than 250 people.
Other measures identified as part of the growth review into regulation include:
  • a public audit of almost 22,000 statutory instruments that are currently on the statute book;
  • a moratorium to exempt businesses with fewer than ten employees and genuine start ups from new domestic regulation for three years; and
  • lightening the audit requirements of smaller firms by matching the minimum required by EU directives, freeing small companies from unnecessary audit fees.
In addition, the Government will be publishing details of how it is introducing ‘sunset clauses’ into new regulations. These will be reviewed after they have been in force for five years to see if they are effective, if they are still necessary and whether the costs to business can be reduced. If they are found to be working as expected, the regulations will be extended for a further five-year period.