Tuesday 27 July 2021 / 10:30 PM Angela Rayner

EMBARGOED: Labour unveils plans to make flexible working “a force for good” for all workers

Labour unveils plans to make flexible working “a force for good” for all workers

Labour has today unveiled its plans to make flexible working “a force for good” for all workers as part of their plans to deliver a new deal for working people that makes Britain the best place to work.

Stating that “flexible working is not just about working from home”, Labour’s Deputy Leader and Shadow Secretary of State for the Future of Work Angela Rayner will announce Labour’s plan to “fundamentally change working practices for the better” and improve the lives of working people by enabling all workers to enjoy the benefits of flexible working post-Covid through genuine flexibility for workers and strengthened rights at work.

Labour is demanding the right to flexible working – including flexible hours, compressed hours, staggered hours and flexibility around childcare and caring responsibilities so that “work fits around people’s lives instead of dictating their lives”. Labour is also calling for the end of “one-sided flexibility” so all workers have secure employment and regular and predictable working so workers can plan their lives around a stable job and income.

 

Labour is calling for:

  • The right to flexible working for all workers as a default from day one of employment and an accompanying duty on employers to accommodate this where there is no reason a job cannot be done flexible and remotely
  • The right to flexible working to include: flexible hours (‘flexi-time’), compressed hours, staggered hours, annualised hours, and flexibility around school runs and other family and caring responsibilities, including childcare during school holidays
  • Ending one-sided flexibility so all workers have stable, secure employment and mutually-agreed predictable working hours and shift patterns so they can plan their lives
  • The ‘right to switch off’ and disconnect from work at home outside of working hours
  • Greater access to workplaces, including to home workers, for trade unions to ensure fair flexibility for all is delivered through a collective voice for all staff, including those who are working flexibly or remotely

Labour says that flexible working is crucial to achieving gender equality in the workplace and the economy. The right to flexible working will stop women losing out at work or even dropping out of the workplace altogether, and help to end the outdated and sexist assumptions about Dads being at work in the office and Mums looking after the kids and doing the housework at home. Research shows that two thirds of working Mums cannot access childcare this summer and only 1 in 30 eligible fathers took shared parental leave.

The government has broken its manifesto commitment to make flexible working the default position, dropped the promised Employment Bill and has indefinitely delayed its consultation on flexible working.

Labour’s Deputy Leader and Shadow Secretary of State for the Future of Work Angela Rayner said:

“Flexible working is not just about working from home, it is about a fundamental change to working practices to improve the lives of all working people. Flexible working means work fitting around people’s lives, not dictating their lives.

“Labour will make flexible working a force for good so that everyone is able to enjoy the benefits of flexible working, from a better work-life balance to less time commuting and more time with their family.

“The ‘new normal’ after this pandemic must mean a new deal for all working people based on flexibility, security and strengthened rights at work.

“The right to flexible working will change our economy and the world of work for the better, stop women losing out at work or even dropping out of the workforce altogether, end the sexist assumption of Dad being at work in the office and Mum looking after the kids at home and improve the lives of millions of workers.”

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