U.K. Government Urged by Panel to Make Flexible Working Easier

U.K. employees should have the right to request flexible working patterns from their first day instead of waiting six months, a panel of lawmakers said.

In a report on women in the workplace, Parliament’s Business Committee said letting staff ask to work part-time or do job shares made it easier for mothers to return after having children. At present, employers have to consider requests from workers after they’ve been in the job six months.

“Flexible working is not a women’s issue; it affects all employees with caring responsibilities,” committee chairman, Adrian Bailey, said in an e-mailed statement. “We must dispel the myth that it is problematic and cannot work.”

The committee also called on the government to introduce equal pay audits for large employers to highlight companies where women earned less. Business Secretary Vince Cable has yet to do so. His current focus is on removing regulations around employers.

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