Higgs & Sons ‘surprised’ by survey findings
Article date: 05/12/2014
A survey of employers about changes to flexible working rules have revealed some surprising results.
The survey, conducted by Higgs & Sons, showed that 71% of employers believe that changes to flexible working rules are a good thing.
New rules were introduced this summer, extending flexible working rights to all employees with 26 weeks' service - rather than just those employees who qualify as parents or carers. Employers have a duty to deal with requests in a reasonable manner, and notify employees of their decision in a reasonable time.
Simon Bond, a solicitor at Higgs & Sons, said that the results of the firm's survey were surprising.
"We had expected most employers to regard the new rules as yet another piece of red tape.
"However, our survey tends to show that as the workplace is becoming more diverse, with different types of working patterns, employers are more responsive to the idea of employees working in a flexible, non-traditional way."
Mr Bond also expressed the view that greater flexible working could be seen as a positive step for business: "Our survey shows that businesses are no longer frightened of a-typical working patterns. Many employers embrace flexible working arrangements, such as reduced hours or home working, as a way of retaining staff who might otherwise leave to gain a better work-life balance."
The Higgs & Sons survey also revealed that 89% of employers welcomed the recent change to Employment Tribunal procedures which oblige employees to apply to ACAS for Early Conciliation before they are able to lodge their claim.
Mr Bond commented: "It is perhaps no surprise that employers will welcome the ruling that employees and ex-employees wishing to take a claim to tribunal will need to take the additional step of inviting ACAS to see if the claim can be settled. It remains to be seen how successful ACAS will be in achieving a resolution."
Higgs & Sons is based in the heart of the Black Country at the Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill. The growing team now boasts 100 plus specialist lawyers available to support clients in a comprehensive range of business and private sectors.