One in three (30 per cent) requests for flexible working are being turned down, according to a TUC poll.
It reveals that flexible working is unavailable to over half (58 per cent) of the UK workforce. This number rises to nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) for people in working-class occupations.
Three in 10 workers (28 per cent) told the representative sample survey of 2,700 people that their desire for more flexible hours would prompt them to look for a new job.
TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said: "It's not right that millions are struggling to balance their work and home lives. Ministers must change the law so that people can work flexibly – regardless of what type of contract they are on.
"Allowing people more flexibility in how and when they do their work makes them happier and more productive.”
She said that under current law bosses have ‘free rein’ to turn down requests and that flexible working should be made available on day one of the job.
Employees with more than 26 weeks’ service have the right to request flexible working. An employer can only reject a statutory request when there are solid business reasons to do so.
The government's Good Work Plan: Proposals to support families which closes on 11 October, considers making tweaks to flexible working laws. It asks whether there should be a new duty for all employers to assess whether a job can be done flexibly and make that clear when advertising; and to consult on requiring large companies (over 250) to publish their parental leave policies.
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