The Forum of Private Business has branded a suggestion by a Government Minister that workers should be allowed to ask for flexible working to avoid rush hour congestion as “nonsensical.”

The lobby group’s Head of Policy, Alex Jackman, said that small businesses should not have administrative complexities thrust upon them because of poorly maintained, congested roads and a rail network that is bursting at the seams.

He added:

“The notion workers should be allowed to pick and choose their hours because of successive Governments’ failure to deliver credible improvements to the country’s transport infrastructure is ridiculous.”

Earlier this week, Business Minister, Jo Swinson, told a House of Commons Business Committee on women’s workplace rights that employees should be able to request the right to come into work earlier or later to avoid peak time travel.

In 2014, all staff members with at least six months’ service will be able to request flexible working, and Swinson advocated this be extended to allow staff to use it to avoid the rush hour.

Jackman went onto say:

“If flexible working works for businesses they will do it themselves. What they don’t need is unworkable suggestions from ministers made on the hoof.

“Just imagine what this would mean on the ground for most businesses: longer opening hours would mean higher office running costs – will the Government pay for the increase in energy bills?

“Then there’s key holder responsibility issues, monitoring time keeping would be a job in itself, and crucial to any business is the ability of employees to communicate with ease and consistency. Wildly different working hours would also make business-to-business communication much more difficult.”