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Minister calls for wider flexible working rights British gov 7494

Minister calls for wider flexible working rights

British government ministers are considering giving all employees the right to ask for flexible working hours "from the beginning" of a new job as part of plans to encourage a fundamental shift in working habits.

The Work and Pensions Secretary, Yvette Cooper, says her office is

working with employers and organisations such as the federation of small

businesses to draw up new ways of supporting men as well as women and

non-parents as well as parents working more flexible hours.

The current rules are limited to parents of children under 16 and

carers, and Cooper wants to extend them. "You want people to offer

flexible working from the beginning and we need to look again at how the

legislation can support different ways of doing that," she said.

"There will be some areas where it's not possible to fit round

particular school hours or particular things where the nature of the

business makes it hard - but what you need is the cultural change for

everybody to think differently." Cooper's proposals come as the

government announced that fathers will be given the right to six months'

paternity leave.

There will be a legal right to take the mother's place at home for the

last three months of a nine-month maternity break; they would receive

£123 a week in statutory pay. Fathers would then be entitled to take a

further three months' unpaid leave. The move was criticised by some

business leaders.

(From: The Guardian, Friday 29 January 2010 -slightly adapted)

The Work and Pensions Secretary

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