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Flexible working exemption for small firms?

Small businesses could be exempt from new flexible working regulations put forward by the government.

Reported in the Financial Times, the claim that small and medium-sized enterprises would be allowed to refuse flexible working requests has neither been confirmed or denied by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

If the reports are true, the exemption would contradict previous claims by the government that it would introduce flexible working for all employees.

Speaking to HR Magazine, Richard Linskell, partner in the employment team at law firm Speechly Bircham, said: “Whilst the government may be able to reduce some aspects of the entitlement so that it aligns with the EU minimum, they would not be able to dispense with it altogether.

“There are critical issues for the government to consider if they go ahead with this.”

The implications for British office spaces could be profound if Whitehall does backtrack on its flexible working commitments.

Mr Linskell concluded that businesses which avoid flexible working now will suffer in the future.

Recently, the Telework Association claimed that flexible working has come a long way since the early days of hot desking.