Flextime Feeding Frenzy
Great Britain currently has a law that gives all parents with children under the age of 6 the right to request flexible work hours (reduced hours, working from home, or a change in schedule). This law, enacted in 2003, has resulted in 22% of the country's workers making such requests and about a 90% 'yes' response from employers (who have to prove that they have seriously considered each request and can demonstrate hardship if it is denied). The law has since been expanded to include parents of disabled children under 18 and carers of adults. Pretty cool!
Now, the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, is promising that this right will soon be extended to all parents with children under the age of 18. While this extension is not yet law, it is likely to become so in 2008.
Press reports of this promise point to a recent survey of managers that reveals no downside to companies from granting flextime requests for their employees. As I suspected! In fact, the number of new mothers who have left their jobs in search of another (more flexible) employer is down sharply since the law started. I imagine that this true for employees in general (rather than just new mothers), but don't have access to full stats at the moment. So flextime breeds stability.
Some consider this next expansion of the law to be a step toward offering it to ALL employees rather than just parents. I hope so!