Yesterday’s formal extension of the right to request flexible working to all staff with over 26 weeks’ service has been warmly welcomed by the CIPD and PCG.

CIPD deputy chief executive Susannah Clements endorsed the new measure for recognising “the complexities of modern working lives,” adding: “Employers need flexible workforces to meet the increasingly 24/7 needs of their global customer bases.”

Ever-rising numbers of employees, she continued, have found that they have needed to build some flexibility into their working lives at different times, “be that to accommodate childcare, caring for sick or elderly relatives, study or other life events.”

PCG chief executive Chris Bryce dismissed the “one-size-fits-all” 9-5 model as “a thing of the past” and praised the government for taking “the first steps towards embracing the future of work.”

The nature of work in the UK, Mr Bryce argues, had changed “beyond all recognition” over the last two decades. People today actively want the flexibility that grants them the control and power they need to choose the optimal working patterns for their specific circumstances. He continued: “What’s more, businesses are beginning to understand that an open-minded, inventive approach to employment is good for business. High-performing businesses now operate a scalable model utilising freelancers and built around a core of traditional employees working on a flexible basis.”

Mr Bryce was clearly hinting at the next step in the flexible working revolution, whereby most employers will be at ease with drawing from from a talent pool composed of highly-skilled Umbrella Company Employees and other freelancers in the UK’s growing professional contracting community.

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