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11 699 Consultation Modern Workplaces

11 699 Consultation Modern Workplaces

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Published by: bisgovuk on May 16, 2011
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05/16/2011

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CONSULTATION ON MODERN WORKPLACES
i) Flexible parental leaveii) Flexible workingiii) Working time regulations
 
iv) Equal pay
MAY 2011
 
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Foreword
We want to create a society where work and family complement one another. One whereemployers have the flexibility and certainty to recruit and retain the skilled labour they need todevelop their businesses. And one where employees no longer have to choose between arewarding career and a fulfilling home life.Freedom, fairness, and responsibility are central to the Coalition Government’s vision ofmodern workplaces. By applying these values through an effective, efficient labour-marketframework, the Government will give businesses the confidence they need to grow, which inturn will help encourage growth in the wider economy.The Government has recently published its proposals for the reform of employment tribunalsand encouraging alternative means for the early resolution of workplace disputes. Thesechanges will encourage employers and employees to resolve their differences in a responsible,fair and equitable manner. We want to build on this new approach to workplace relationships.We are now consulting on our plans for a culture of flexible, family-friendly employmentpractices. There are four elements - a system of flexible parental leave; a right for allemployees to request flexible working; changes to the Working Time Regulations affecting theinteraction of annual leave with sick leave and family-friendly leave; and measures toencourage equal pay for equal work between men and women. We recognise that in buildingour vision we will need to change the legislative framework - but we are also seeking to drive acultural change in our society.By increasing the flexibility of how parental leave can be taken, we will give parents thefreedom to make arrangements that suit their families and allow a balance between work andfamily commitments, while also meeting their responsibilities to their employers. By enablingemployers and employees to negotiate how leave is taken (e.g. part-time, full-time, discreteperiods), we are also increasing flexibility for business and getting the state out of the way ofdeciding arrangements that best suit any particular employer and employee. Sharing parentalleave in a balanced way between mothers and fathers will enable and encourage both parentsto take control of their childcare responsibilities; and will give them greater choice over theirfamily arrangements.Through the right to request flexible working, many parents and carers have already benefitedfrom flexibility in balancing their personal and working lives. Extending this right andencouraging flexible working generally will give all employees the opportunity to contributemore widely to society, whether as carers, disabled people, volunteers, or simply as citizens. Itwill also help employers to recruit, motivate and retain their workforces, and so build successfulbusinesses as well as increasing productivity. By responsibly negotiating working patterns thatsuit the needs of both parties, businesses can access a labour pool of experienced and skilledstaff, who in turn will be able to find work that fits around their other commitments.Just as employees’ pay should be fair, so too should their annual leave entitlement. Recentcourt cases have highlighted the interaction of annual leave with other forms of leave. Inmaking the necessary changes to the law, we have the opportunity to treat parents fairly byensuring that they do not lose out on annual leave by taking family-related leave. We need toclarify the law in this area to give employers legal certainty.
 
Modern Workplaces
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Equal pay for men and women doing the same work is a basic element of a fair workplace. Yet36 years after equal pay laws were introduced a significant gender pay gap remains. There aremany different causes of the pay gap, such as occupational segregation and the impact oftaking time out of the labour market to have children. We are committed to addressing theseunderlying causes through our proposals on extending the right to request flexible working toall and introducing a new system of flexible parental leave. But where discrimination exists wewill take action. We are therefore bringing forward changes to the powers of employmenttribunals to allow them to tackle possible systemic unfairness brought to light by individualcases. Where a tribunal finds that an employer has breached equal pay law, that employer willbe required by the tribunal to conduct a pay audit, unless they can show good reason why thisshould not happen, such as already having conducted one.The changes to flexible parental leave will not be in place before 2015. Our challenge betweenthen and now is to make a compelling case for the new culture of workplace flexibility that ourproposals will facilitate. We will work with employers to promote the business benefits ofchange; and with employees to foster greater expectations of workplace flexibility.And we will also work with business to make sure that these changes are undertaken in a waythat minimise the costs and complexities for businesses. We want to reduce red tape andbureaucracy. We have kept this principle in mind throughout the development of our proposals.Some elements of our proposals will inevitably create costs. But we are confident that they willalso bring wider benefits to businesses, not least from a happy, motivated workforce.Taken together, these measures will deliver on several of the commitments that we made inthe Coalition Agreement. More importantly, they allow us to move a significant way towards ourvision of modern employment based on freedom, fairness, and responsibility for bothemployers and employees.
Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP Rt Hon Theresa May MP Maria Miller MPSecretary of State forBusiness, Innovation andSkills and President of theBoard of TradeHome Secretary andMinister for Women andEqualitiesMinister for DisabledPeople

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