The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is calling on organisations and the government to make the right to request flexible working a day-one right; an initiative that it has named `flex from first’. Presently, UK law states that employees can only request to work flexibly after 26 weeks of employment, with a limit of one request in a 12-month period. COVID-19 has instigated an increase in remote working and flexible working, however 46% of UK employees still do not have access to flexible working in their current role. From research carried out by the CIPD, many employers and employees alike have experienced the benefits flexible working can offer, evidenced by their improved wellbeing, work-life balance and greater productivity. The CIPD has also suggested that, especially during these difficult times, employers focus on performance measures that focus on an employee’s output rather than hours worked; a group that would particularly benefit from this would be working parents, so they can aid their children in school hours.
Employees who are parents or carers are allowed time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependant. A dependant could be a spouse, partner, child, grandchild, parent, or someone who depends on them for care. They are allowed a reasonable amount of time off to deal with the emergency, but there’s no set amount of time as it depends on the situation. The decision on this is at the discretion of the employer and dependent on the specific circumstances. As an employer, you may decide to pay the employee for time off to look after dependants, but this is not obligatory. It is dependent on what is written in the contract of employment, and/or handbook provided to employees.