New campaign addresses flex deficit

Flex From First campaign from the CIPD calls for more flexible options to be available and for workers to have day one right to request flexible working

Flexible Working


Working dads ought to have the option to work flexibly from day one in a job according to a new campaign. HR trade body the CIPD launched ‘Flex from First’ today. It follows research that found around half of all workers don’t have any access to flexible working.

The CIPD surveyed over 2000 employees and another 2000 employers. 46 per cent of employees said they don’t have access to flexible working beyond the home working enforced by the pandemic. One in five said their employers offer no flexible working at all. Three-quarters of the 2,127 employees polled agree that it is important that people who cannot work from home can work flexibly in other ways.


Of the employers questioned around half said they were looking at more hybrid working going forward. But only a third said they were planning to increase flexible working options beyond more home working. That means options like flexitime, job share and compressed hours are being ignored.

CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese said, “While many have hailed the pandemic as a driver for the adoption of flexible working practices, particularly around home working, the reality for many is that this is not the case.

“We need a new understanding about what flexible working is and we need employers to embrace flexible working arrangements beyond home working, to give opportunity and choice to all. Employees may not always be able to change where they work, but they should have more choice and a say in when and how they work.”

Day one right

The CIPD’s Flex From First campaign echoes calls previously made by the TUC for flex to be a day one right. Currently employees must have been with their company for six months before they can apply for flexible working. The campaign also calls for employers to stipulate that jobs can be done flexibly in adverts. Evidence from insurance company Zurich last year showed that doing so gives employers a larger pool of talent to choose from.

The campaign encourages firms to collaborate with employees to find mutually beneficial flexible working solutions in order to boost job satisfaction, work-life balance, staff retention and productivity.

Peter Cheese added, “Being able to build in flexible working arrangements, such as changes to hours, term-time working or job shares, will empower people to have greater control and flexibility in their working life. This is good for inclusion and opening up opportunities to people who have other constraints in being able to work standard hour weeks or in getting to a place of work.”

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