Businesses that refuse reasonable flexible working time requests from loyal employees are cutting their own throats; this has always been the case, and new laws giving all workers the right to ask for altered hours change nothing.
Any employer with half a brain will treat such a request the same this week as they would any time in the past. To do anything else would be idiocy - it's just common sense.
We've been doing it for years at Pimlico Plumbers. We are a 24-hour company and we need staff on call and at work every minute of every day and night, and to do that there needs to be a bit of give and take on both sides. And it's not just us; increasingly being in business in the UK is a 24/7 proposition, for all sorts of companies, and if you want your workers to be there for you when you wants them, then you've got to be prepared to do the same for them.
A good example is one of my managers who came to me a while ago to resign, because for family reasons, he felt he had to move out of London. I didn't want to lose him and he didn't want to leave, but working Monday- Friday in London was not going to be possible. So we cut a deal whereby he's in London Tuesday to Thursday, and spends four days with his family in the Midlands.
It's a total win-win situation, which has been in place for five years, and it developed completely organically without any need for laws and regulations.
Like I said it's just good old fashion common sense. Maybe my old saying that 'it's not that common' means that some businesses need to be led to the water to drink, but I'd still say that most who are savvy enough to have lasted through this recession will have figured this stuff out for themselves.
It's true that it might embolden a few to bring up requests they wouldn't have done in the past, and maybe there will be a few wanting to play golf on Fridays? But again, law or no law, I don't think there will be too much of this kind of thing, and it'll be nipped in the bud pretty quickly I'd imagine - at least certainly at Pimlico Plumbers it will be! To do anything else would be stupid and not a requirement under the new rules.
The fact that people feel more comfortable asking for flexible working hours might also benefit a forward looking business, giving it the opportunity of keeping a valuable asset on the payroll, when otherwise such an employee might have slipped away, simply because they didn't feel they could ask.
Nope, there's nothing wrong with this piece of regulation . . . . except maybe it's not really that revolutionary.