Two thousand people – many from carer backgrounds – have asked ministers to put flexible working into law.
It comes as 7 in 10 HR managers say they could easily put flexible working in place, especially since the pandemic.
This is according to a TUC poll, which shows a marked change in attitude compared to before the lockdowns last March.
Half of UK HR managers polled said greater flexible working could work for their business as a result of Covid-19. This is more than the one in five (21%) who say that their business already had flexible working before the pandemic.
The poll – run by YouGov for the TUC – found only one in four (24 percent) of the HR managers polled say they won’t encourage significant flexible working at their company or business after the pandemic.
The findings were published as the government’s consultation on flexible working closed this week (yesterday).
Flexible working in job adverts
If the consultation goes through, employees will be able to ask for flexibility from day one of starting their roles.
The TUC wants to take things a bit further and is calling on the government to make sure every job ad includes details of the potential flexible working arrangements available in that role.
This will include flexi-time, compressed hours, part-time hours, term-time only hours, job-shares, home or remote working, or predictable shifts.
So far around 2,000 members of the public – including parents, disabled people and carers – have told ministers why they need greater rights to flexible working.
Many explain it’s not possible to until they are in a job to ask for flexible working. With the additional care work in their lives, the instability does not work. Workers are demanding that ministers make sure employers publish flexible working options in job ads.
Government accused of inaction
The union body says that, despite rising support for flexible working in business, only one in four jobs are advertised with flexible work options listed.
This is despite a TUC poll showing the majority of HR managers believe it would be quite easy to include specific information about flexible working arrangements in job adverts.
Ongoing for 2 decades
The legal ‘right to request’ flexible working has been in place for around 20 years.
But the TUC called the current system ‘broken’, saying “without government action, the growth in support of flexible working will not translate into practical changes for workers”.
A recent survey run by the TUC and instagram campaigner Mother Pukka found half of working mums don’t get the flexibility they request at work.
And those who do get flexible working face discrimination and are disadvantaged.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “ A right to ask for flexible working is no right at all – especially when bosses can turn down requests with impunity.”
She said attitudes need to change and ministers must change the law.
She said: “Flexible working is how we keep mums in work and close the gender pay gap. It enables dads to spend more time with their kids. It helps disabled workers and carers stay in their jobs – and in employment.”