Pat McFadden, the Employment Relations Minister, said: “This is about balancing work and family life. Both workers and employers have felt the benefits of flexible working since we first introduced the right to request.
“Fewer mothers change jobs when they return to work meaning greater continuity for businesses and more employees have been able to work hours which help them cope with parental responsibilities.”
The minister continued: “Firms can still say no if they have legitimate business concerns, but more than 95 per cent of all requests for flexible working from working parents and carers are now accepted, as employers recognise the benefits more and more.
“Parenting doesn’t end as children get older. Extending the right to request will help more parents get the flexibility they need. The business benefits of flexible working are well documented and this remains the case in tougher economic times.”
All carers and parents of children aged up to six, or children with disabilities aged up to 18, already have the right to request flexible working.
Businesses can get advice on flexible working at http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Employees/Flexibleworking/index.htm