Now is the time for flexible working.

Angela Crawley MP has called on the UK Government to make flexible working the norm across the country as we emerge from lockdown.

With more people working flexibly due to Covid, Angela argued in the House of Commons debate on International Women’s Day that now is the time to normalise the practice.

Flexible working is shown to increase the productivity and morale of workers, making it an important tool to address the longstanding productivity gap and, with women twice as likely to work flexibly than men, it also has the potential to close the gender pay gap.

The Flexible Working Regulations 2014 provide eligible employees with a statutory right to request a flexible work arrangement (including hours, schedule and location changes). To be eligible, an individual must be an employee and have worked for 26 consecutive weeks for their employer.

Giving evidence to the Women & Equalities Committee, Professor Jill Rubery argued that the pandemic has revealed how “unnecessary” the 26-week work service threshold in the Flexible Working Regulations and called on the Government to remove the restriction.

Commenting after the debate, Angela Crawley MP said:

“Employers who previously said people could not work from home are now finding that the opposite is true.

“Not only that, but many employees find it easier to have a work life balance as a result of flexible practices adopted by their employer since the Covid outbreak and are more productive as a result.

“Despite the platitudes from Ministers, the Government have done nowhere near enough to remove the restrictions on flexible working.

“If we are serious about building back better and learning the lessons of the pandemic, we must use this opportunity and capitalise on the cultural change that has occurred across the country.

“The Government listen to the experts and remove the 26-weeks wait in the Flexible Working Regulations. By doing so, they will make it easier for people who are balancing family and career to play a full role in the workplace.”