Doing your homework

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Posted in:Corporate and Commercial, HR and Employment|May 21, 2012 | Join the mailing list

"The Government’s approach to employees being able to work from home is one of mixed messages", says Nigel Crebbin of the Berg Employment Team.

With the Olympic Games fast approaching and with businesses being warned to expect disruption for their employees in getting into work, Government Ministers have been singing the praises of employees working from home.

Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude, last week said that working from home "can be better for people’s lives" and that "people can be much more productive if they are working a bit more of the time from home".

However, the Government decided not to include in the Queen’s Speech any proposals to extend the right to request flexible working (including working from home) to all employees.

"The right currently applies to employees with children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and also to employees who care for dependant adults" says Nigel. "There was talk of extending the right to all employees, but the Government appears
to have stepped back from this and there was no mention made by the Queen in her speech of any such extension".

This change of approach may not be in keeping with what Ministers have been saying about working from home, but it is likely to be welcomed by the many employers who have reservations about home working.

"Employers need to be wary of having a knee-jerk hostile reaction to employees who want to work from home", Nigel Crebbin comments, "but on the other hand there are still many businesses which function best where people work together in the office. Coming into
work each day can actually help employees keep a balance between work and family life, as it can help them switch off from work and relax when they are at home. Also many employers understandably feel that it is difficult properly to manage and supervise staff
where there is little face to face contact."

"The key to dealing with any flexible working request is to take a reasonable and balanced approach and to ensure that if you turn it down, there are sound business reasons behind that decision."

To discuss how we can provide further advice in connection with these issues, please contact Nigel Crebbin, a Partner in our Employment Team, by email to or alternatively you can call Nigel on 0161 833 9211.

The information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice.  No responsibility for this article’s accuracy or correctness is assumed by Berg or any of its partners or
employees.  Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of the contents of this article.

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