Having recently made a proposal to extend the right of parents to request flexible working from those with children under six, to those with children under 16, the Government has now published a further consultation on the right to request flexible working.

The new consultation aims to improve awareness amongst the workforce of their right to request flexible working and to make it easier for businesses to implement requests.

The consultation looks for input from employers and other interested parties as to how the process of dealing with requests could be made easier, in particular looking at whether it would be appropriate to introduce online tools to make the process quicker. Furthermore the consultation provides estimates as to the likely increase in parents taking up the extended right, and the percentage increase likely to be seen in different industries.

Lastly, the consultation confirms that the increase in the age cut-off for the right to request flexible working will be introduced in one step in April 2009, as opposed to being phased in. The Government has stated that it will issue full guidance to allow businesses to prepare in good time.