The right to request flexible working has never been more than window dressing in terms of creating a family friendly working environment. In reality it is a toothless hound. Just as employees have always had the right to ask for a pay rise, they also had the right to ask for a change in their working hours.

If the request is reasonable, the reasonable employer usually grants it. Arguably this one is akin to a phantom pregnancy, in other words the employee thinks they are acquiring new rights, but there is nothing there at all of substance for the midwife to deliver.

The government recently published ?the Children and Families Bill (which ?will bring...

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