It is perhaps a strange notion that one’s friends and neighbours could request changes to their working hours to look after the children of an acquaintance or relative. It is also not hard to see how it would possibly have an impact on those of us who employ domestic staff and rely on their presence.
However this is the odd turn of affairs which will come to pass if government plans for changes to working hours are whisked through parliament and come into force in 2014. The changes are the plans of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who has said he believes that giving the power to request such changes will help bring more women back into the work place. It would also give grandparents and close friends the chance to look after children!
Mr Clegg has also said it will help remove the stigma from men who would like the opportunity to look after their children, but find it difficult to request more flexible working hours.
Explaining that there are about a million women missing from the work place, Mr Clegg says that this absence of women is costing the economy dearly and that the present situation has no place in a modern economy or for a modern family.
Under government guidelines which will be published in 2013, assuming the changes become law, employers will have to give “reasonable consideration” to such requests.