Employers should consider the use of flexible working in response to the urban unrest that has hit London and other major UK cities
Flexible working could help businesses and employees cope with the fallout from rioting in major cities, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
Ben Wilmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, told HR magazine
that employers have a clear duty of care towards staff during and after any unrest.
Wilmott said that employers must stay abreast of any unrest and take advice from local police. Proximity of employees to pockets of unrest – and their ability to commute safely – is crucial, and a corresponding level of flexibility is essential.
Allowing staff to work from home should definitely be an option, and Wilmott urged as much flexibility as possible on the part of employers.
The CIPD is a long-time supporter of flexible working, an area considered under the Government’s Modern Workplaces
consultation, which closed on Monday. Wilmott described the changes recommended under the consultation as “light touch regulation.”
The CIPD wants all employees to have the right to request flexible working, whereas currently only some are able to do so.
Sarah Jackson, chief executive of work-life balance organisation Working Families
, said: "Far from costing the earth, the simple extension of flexible working rights to all employees could bring real benefits to families and to business. The Consultation on Modern Workplaces Impact Assessment paper suggests the extension of the right to request flexible working will lead to an estimated £222.5 million net benefit to employers: this figure should be widely publicised."
According to a recent CBI/Hays report, private sector uptake of flexible working opportunities increased during the recession. Mark Warren, practice group head at international law firm Eversheds
, said: "This flexible response to the recession – which has delivered wage restraint and job preservation through the downturn – shows how much progress we have made."