Monday, October 20, 2008

UK flexitime reform at risk

Andrew Grice in The Independent reports that plans to allow 4.5 million parents in the UK to work flexibly are to be delayed by the Government as it searches for ways to help businesses survive the economic downturn. The reform was aimed at extending the right to flexitime for parents with children up to 16. Also in danger are extended paid maternity leave from 39 to 52 weeks and an extra bank holiday. An internal document seen by The Independent reveals that Lord Mandelson is urgently drawing up an "action programme for business". He has ordered his department "to be completely focused on getting UK business through the present economic downturn and emerging stronger on the other side". Here's what he says:
"Government sources say the decision is finely balanced. Ministers want to ease the pain of the downturn on ordinary people but must do everything possible to help business. Delaying a popular extension of workplace rights might contribute to a "feel-bad factor" and would be opposed by many Labour MPs and trade unions."
Shedworking's take is that this would be a terrible shame and a big step backward, punishing those who have done nothing to contribute to the current financial mess, but please do leave your comments below. Interestingly, Grice adds that today opposition leader David Cameron will publish a "plan for small business" which would allow them to defer their VAT bills for up to six months.


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