The CSP has called on the government to introduce the right to request flexible working from the first day of employment and to promote the benefits of flexible working to employers.
At the TUC in Manchester today, physiotherapist and regional steward Zoe Clare presented a motion promoting flexible working. She told delegates that last year prime minister Theresa May made a commitment to take better care of NHS staff and offer greater flexibility over where they work, when they work and what they can do.
Despite this, Ms Claire said the government had made little progress, and that ‘flexible working is likely to be an option that most people may want to consider at some point in their working lives.
‘But many employers remain reluctant to encourage staff to explore different working patterns’ despite the wide ranging benefits flexible working can bring.’
The motion stated that NHS employers continue to lose experienced staff because they are unable to negotiate the flexibility that they need.
This means greater recruitment costs and more pressure on remaining staff, who are already struggling to cope with increasing patient needs.
Ms Clare said: ‘The statutory right to request flexible working is just that – a right to ask, not a right to be given.
‘It has many other limitations, such as only applying to staff who have 26 weeks service and only allowing one request every 12 months.
‘Why is this? Why can’t employees make a request from day one of their employment? And people’s circumstances change, sometimes more than once in a year.’
She added that flexible working was a ‘hugely important issue’ for the CSP and highlighted the society’s campaign, Building the Better Balance, to help all members achieved a better work/life balance.
The motion was seconded by the Royal College of Midwives and passed unanimously.
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