‘A nightmare for employers’ – HR and small business owners react to government plans for flexible working from day one and multi-employment

HR, recruiters and small business owners have reacted to new government plans to allow employees to apply for flexible working from day one of employment and for the lowest paid to have the right to work for different employers. Some are very favorable to it, others see it as a “nightmare for employers”.

Chris Sanderson, CEO of hotel recruitment app Limber: “These laws are good news for workers. Unlike other announcements, such as the 4-day week trials, this one goes some way to improving the work of low-wage frontline shift workers. For the shift industries, however, these proposed laws pose a huge challenge. When planning your staff, the rotation only goes one way, and the constant demands for flexible working, now supported by this proposed legislation, will put even more pressure on staffing in these industries. For us, as a platform, we welcome the prohibition of draconian exclusivity clauses. This will mean better access to more sources of income for more people, which will be crucial in times of recession. »

Steven Mather, director of Steven Mather Solicitor, based in Leicester: “The right for low-wage workers to do more than one job, removing exclusivity clauses, is a sensible decision and prevents the brutal practice of employing someone who gives them low hours and prevents them from working somewhere else. As for the ability to request flexible working from day one, that sounds like a major improvement for employees. But most small employers will not appreciate this announcement. In my experience, most flexwork requests are denied because they don’t meet company requirements and exceptions and exits for a company will remain. This means more requests and more refusals. Companies must be careful not to discriminate when dealing with flexible working requests, otherwise they will also have recourse to the labor court from day one. They will also have to work a little harder to come to a compromise on what would be acceptable to the business.

Lily Shippen, director of London-based recruiter Lily Shippen: “I don’t think the government should get involved here. It should be up to the employer to define their flexible working policies, if their profession allows it. Quite simply, if they don’t have attractive policies, they won’t attract the best talent. While flexible working is here to stay, Gen Z professionals especially need to start their careers knowing what it takes to succeed in their role, rather than searching for the perfect job based on flexibility alone. This kind of policy does not encourage that.

Chris Maslin, Director at Tunbridge Wells, specialist in employee ownership, Go Go“So as a company, you post for a full-time position in an office, someone interviews for it, impresses you, takes the job, and then on the first day says, ‘I’d like to work only on Tuesdays, and from home”? If that’s really what’s being offered here, it’s nonsense. Fine for applicants to ask during the interview or in a few years if their circumstances change. Accepting a job on one site and then immediately applying for another sounds like a nightmare for employers.

Cheney Hamilton, CEO of Darlington-based flexible work recruiter, Find Your Flex: “The right to request flexibility from day one is very important, as the loopholes for companies hoping to avoid making these changes still exist. However, a move towards results and the ability to work for multiple employers synchronously is the exciting part of this announcement. Companies that adopt multi-portfolio workers will benefit from newfound agility and sustainability and will be well-positioned to quickly adapt to the future and all that it may bring. Exciting times ahead.

Sam Alsop-Hall, director of strategy at the Birmingham-based NHS and healthcare recruiter, Woodrow Mercer Health: “It’s a nightmare for business owners, a nightmare for the hospitality industry, and a nightmare for employers trying to develop entry-level employees. It is not for the government to get involved here. Let the labor market decide the balance between flexible and hybrid working based on the needs of companies in different sectors. This will have major unintended consequences for years to come. »

Samuel Mather-Holgate of Swindon-based consultancy Mather & Murray Financial: “This is great news for the economy and the happiness of the nation. Economically, it makes sense to allow workers to do whatever they can to contribute to the national income, because currently employers can veto second jobs. However, it also works to make people happier. If someone can complete a working week in an extended 4-day week and then spend that extra day earned with their family if that’s what they choose, why should employers prevent that? As long as there is no detriment to work results, flexibility should be a given and I am happy to see this announced.

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