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Angela Rayner spoke to the party conference about new Green Paper.
Labour has pledged to go one step further than the government when it comes to flexible working, saying it will guarantee the right of employees to get a flexible working pattern from day one of their job rather than simply the chance to request it.
The government recently-announced plans for the latter option, but at Labour conference, Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader and Shadow Secretary for Future of Work, launched a Green Paper delivering ‘the right to flexible working for all workers as a default from day one’.
“A global pandemic has reinforced for a lot of us how precious time off is and how utterly exhausting the daily grind can be,” she told the conference on Friday. “So Labour will introduce a new right to flexible working as the default.”
The party’s Green Paper for Employment Rights also includes policies around fairer pay, creating a single status for workers and banning zero-hours contracts. They also pledge to extend statutory parental leave and reform the ‘failed Shared Parental Leave system’.
“It is high time that the key workers who got us through this crisis – and all working people – are given the dignity and security at work that they deserve,” said Andy McDonald, Shadow Employment Rights and Protections Secretary.
Labour’s plan, which Rayner said would be signed into law within 100 days were the party to take office, says that it would support small and medium-sized businesses to adapt to flexible working practices, so there was an increase in its uptakes amongst employees. The Green Paper specifically says employers will be “required to accommodate this as far as is reasonable”.
As regards parental leave, the Green Paper criticises current policies and promises reform of the shared parental leave system, but does not specify what those would be.
“Working from home has given some of us a new freedom and flexibility, but it has also blurred the lines between what is home and what is work,” said Rayner. “A new economy needs workers’ rights that reflect the way we work now.”