Last week I was fortunate enough to put a question to Jo Swinson, the Minister for Business Innovation and Skills via her live webchat hosted by the Chartered Management Institute (transcript here).
As I said in my question (reproduced below), I wanted to know why the right to request flexible working was being included as one of the “giveaways” in the “rights for shares” proposal. In my view it serves only to dilute the message this Government seems otherwise keen to get across – that flexible working is good for business. Unfortunately, the Minister’s answer (also below) has left me with further questions. To be fair to the Minister, they were questions that in large part have been bubbling in my mind for some time and may yet be answered by the long-awaited response to the Modern Workplaces consultation.
I am not at this stage going to say any more about flexible working in general as I remain firmly of the view that practitioners and other interested parties should this week focus on the “rights for shares” issue whilst the consultation remains open. I don’t want to detract from that by dissecting Government policy on flexible working. That will undoubtedly be the topic of a future post.
I will simply close by saying, if you have a view on “rights for shares” then may I encourage you to respond to the consultation. As I commented on Darren Newman’s blog post on this, I took no notice of the limited scope of the consultation questions. I said what I wanted to say in response to the questions that most closely matched the views I wanted to get across.
If (and it looks ever more likely to) the proposal goes ahead, how will any of us at some future point be able to say “we told them so” if we haven’t taken the opportunity (however small) to tell them so?