ACAS calls for an attitude change towards flexible working



ACAS, Flexible working

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service has published a report that suggests employers are not doing enough to support parents who take an extended period of leave for parental and caring responsibilities. According to the report, Flexible Working for Parents Returning to Work – Maintaining career development, although employers encourage women to take maternity leave, managers do not make male employees aware of their entitlements, including paternity leave, paternity pay and other flexible working options. The report confirmed that only 15% of fathers opted to work part-time, compared to 59% of mothers. The report suggested that this significant change was also due to the gender pay gap as part-time workers were often less likely to be promoted to senior roles compared to their full time colleagues.

ACAS has called for a cultural change in the workplace as the survey has revealed that if male employees opt to request flexible working, they are then seen to be less ambitious. The report called for more schemes to support and encourage employees who decide to return to work after taking time-off and called on employers to assess flexible working requests based on their business needs and not on the employees’ reason for making the request.

In today’s society, in particular, flexible working of both female and male employees should be encouraged as much as possible and employers should be urged to be more ‘family friendly’. To do otherwise could damage the ethos of the employer, the relationship between the employer and the employee and also, potentially risk sex discrimination claims being brought against them.

For further information on Flexible Working, Discrimination or any other Employment law matter, please contact Joanna Alexiou on 0203 490 1475 or via email to