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More reasons to go into contracting?

More reasons to go into contracting?

The UK’s Trades Union Congress (TUC) is backing the ‘Flex for All’ campaign to extend flexible working rights to everyone. The campaign comes in response to research that shows one in three people who request flexible working are turned down by their employer.

Under the current UK, law staff have the right to request flexible working after 26 weeks in the job. Employers are required to give the request reasonable consideration, including holding a meeting with the staff member. However, bosses still have the right to refuse requests.

The Flex for all Campaign directed a petition to Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It asks the Government to change the law so that when recruiting, an employer will be legally obliged to consider how the position can be done flexibly. A bill was considered in Commons in July; despite not being passed, its backers argued that flexible working is the way of the future.

Flexible working is any working pattern other than the established ‘norm’ at an organisation. It can include part-time, flexi hours, home working, compressed hours and job shares. A poll of the UK adult population in full-time or part-time employment showed that:

  • One in three (30%) requests for flexible working are being turned down.
  • Flexi-time is unavailable to over half (58%) of the UK workforce. This number rises to nearly two-thirds (64%) for people in working-class occupations.
  • 3 in 10 workers (28%) say their desire for more flexible hours is one of the main reasons they might look for a new job.

Despite countless studies that show how flexible working increases employee productivity, satisfaction and retention, many organisations are still reluctant to adopt it as standard practice. When it comes to matters of accountability, productivity and security, companies can feel that enforcing conformity helps them to keep control.

While it might be that employees are easier to keep tabs on if they’re all working the same hours under the same roof, this doesn’t automatically guarantee an effective workforce. Levels of absenteeism, where staff turn up to work but aren’t productive, have risen sharply in the last ten years. In contrast, research indicates that flexible working raises standards because people value the increased work/life balance it allows them to achieve.

When it comes to job selection, the ability to balance personal and professional commitments is the deciding factor for modern workers, even above salary or promotional opportunities. With this in mind, increasing numbers of people are opting for the flexibility of contracting, which allows them to choose their assignments, set their own hours and work from where they want.

If you’re considering making the switch to contracting work, Contracting Scout offers information on a wide range of specialist support services that can help you make the transition. To speak to one of our team today, call: 0203 603 1878

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