Flexible Working Hours
Small businesses have voiced their concern over government plans to give an extra 4.5 million parents the right to request flexible working.
The Government says the move will be a big boost for busy parents, but the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) warned that it could create an "employment nightmare" for small business owners.
The situation is exacerbated, the FSB says, by new rules to improve pay and conditions for agency workers. The federation's employment chairman, Alan Tyrrell, said it put small businesses in "an impossible position".
"You can't have an extension of flexible working and at the same time clamp down on the means by which many small businesses cope with it, which is often through temporary workers," he said.
"The current flexible working regime seems to be working, but the government should be cautious about extending it too far, which could be damaging to small businesses and, as a result, the millions of people they employ."
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James Wright from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "Small businesses need not unduly worry about flexible working requests. Employees only have the right to request flexible working and the law provides employers with valid grounds to refuse requests. Small businesses should ensure they are aware of their own rights in relation to flexible working requests."