Tuesday, September 11, 2012

United Kingdom: AgeUK Calls for Mandating Flexible Workplaces

AgeUk has issued a report calling for every worker to be able to do their job flexibly--including working from home, doing flexitime or different working hours, or simply being able to swap shifts--unless a business can justify otherwise. According to "", "an important way to unleash the full potential of Britain’s older workers, many of whom are unable to work conventional hours because of caring responsibilities and the need to balance other personal issues with work, is to change the UK’s traditional and more rigid approach to work."

Among the changes that AgeUK is calling for are for all new and prospective employees to automatically have the right to request flexible working, instead of having to wait until 26 weeks in the job before making a request. Currently, "far too many people aged 50 and over are locked out of the job market because they are unable to work conventional hours, often because they have to care for a relative or have health issues."

Among other findings published in the report:
  • 38% of those in employment aged 50 plus worked flexibly in 2010, up from 30% in 2005, but the figures hide the lack of flexible working in various industries.
  • Older workers in the public sector are most likely to work flexibly.
  • People in lower supervisory and routine jobs are less likely to be granted flexible working than those in managerial or professional roles.
  • Carers are less likely to be able to access flexible working options than other groups, for example those coming back from maternity leave.
  • 25% of carers under the age of 70 report that caring responsibilities affect their work. Of these, 39% left employment altogether.
Source: AgeUK Press Release (September 11, 2012)

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