Brown back in the bad books?

In his first Queen’s speech yesterday, Brown promised to extend the right to request flexible working hours, potentially to employees with children as old as 17. That right currently applies only to parents with children under six or parents of disabled children under 18.

The move would give more than ten million employees the right to request more family-friendly hours.

Imelda Walsh, Sainsbury’s HR director, has been drafted in to advise the government on implementing the plan.

Fair enough, but what do entrepreneurs have to say about all of this? How on earth are small businesses going to shoulder the burden of even more red tape?

“The DTI looked into extending flexible-working rights 18 months ago – and it decided not to take it forward,” says John Davies, head of business law at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. “So my question would be: ‘What’s changed?’ Why is this suddenly acceptable?’”

He says an extension to parents with children as old as 17 is ridiculous. “17 is way too high. Even 12 is a bit steep.”

What do you think? 

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