A new report released today by the Flexible Working Commission reveals that employers should be allowed options to use trial periods for flexible working periods.

The report recommends the extension to all employees of the right to request flexible working and that any regulation must be as clear and concise as possible, laying out the full extent of obligations employers must meet, using language that avoids debate around the process to be followed.

David Frost, the Commission Chair, believes that companies are starting to open up to the benefits of the right to flexible working, saying:

“Employers are having a greater control over cost and they are increasingly using options such as reduced hours and part-time staff.

“We would welcome a trial period for employers, but a lot more work needs to be done to be able to implement this.”

A large majority of the businesses featured in the have an interest in flexible working, and already have well-established flexible working practices, the report established.

“Jon Goodchild, Head of HR at nuclear and technology firm Nuvia, said:

“If the right to request didn’t exist, we’d be just as flexible.”

The current law does not give the right to work flexibly, however employers are required to seriously consider staff applications requesting to work flexible hours for caring purposes, and may only turn down the application for legitimate business reasons.

The report also discovered arrangements made outside of the right to request are not so firm, and can change according to the needs of both the employers and employees. This provides more opportunity for trial periods and promotes communication between the two parties to discuss such flexible working practices.