Harriet Harman is keen to promote flexible working Millions of UK employees are unaware that carers are able to ask for flexibility in their working hours, a new government survey has found.

Research company ICM carried out the survey on behalf of the government’s Equalities Office and found that 82 per cent of respondents were not aware that carers are legally entitled to ask their employer for flexible working arrangements.

This was in spite of the fact that 35 per cent of respondents did have carer responsibilities and were in the position where they were eligible to ask.

Harriet Harman, minister for women and equality, said: “We do not want people to have to choose between their work or providing important family care, so the question of their ability to work and employers’ ability to respond flexibly is a huge one for the future.”

She added that this was the reason why officials brought in the right to request flexible working for those who care for older and disabled relatives.

Robert Janes, chair of judges for The National Business Awards, recently claimed that flexibility and good employee communication are “vital” for a happy and productive workforce during the recession.