Tulip Siddiq, Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, has proposed a new Bill to parliament that would give workers the right to flexible work.
Co-sponsored by MPs from the Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem, Green, SDLP and SNP parties, the Flexible Working Bill would give all workers a right to flexible working from the first day in a job and ensure that employers advertise flexibility in job adverts.
The Government has been considering introducing a new right to flexible work for a number of years now as it was a recommendation from Matthew Taylor’s Good Work Plan published in July 2017, however the proposal to introduce it from day one in work is new. Flexible working rights are likely to be included in the Employment Bill which has been delayed by COVID, and hopefully will be issued later this year. However, campaigners want more immediate action to overhaul the current right to request flexible working as it can be easily rejected.
Tulip Siddiq told MPs that despite the benefits to workers and businesses ‘there still isn’t a culture of flexible working in this country’. She said that since 2020 “only 17%” of jobs advertised have said “you can flexibly work if you apply for this job”, adding: “A third of requests that are made about flexible working are turned down.”
According to Siddiq, law change is needed so flexible working becomes something that “everyone has the right to”.
The Bill has cross party support, and is also supported by the TUC, Pregnant Then Screwed, the Fawcett Society, Mother Pukka, Young Women’s Trust, Gingerbread and The Fatherhood Institute, as well as the charity Working Families.