The new age of work: flexible working and the opportunities for change

Posted in: News on September 10, 2012

Age UK has published a policy report looking into older workers’ experiences of accessing and using flexible working. The report finds that flexible working is useful for a variety of reasons, for example to meet caring responsibilities, manage health conditions, or wind down to retirement, but that accessing it is often far from easy. Barriers are often placed in the way, often because individual line managers are reluctant to accept that flexible working can bring benefits to both parties. This leaves older workers unwilling to ask their employer for flexibility. Some people, in particular carers who have been forced to leave work, can get stuck in a catch-22 situation where they need flexibility in order to return to the labour market, but can’t access the options they need. The report calls on the Government to go further than extending the right to request to all employees, and to make all jobs ‘flexible by default’ by 2020. This would allow individuals to assume they can work flexibly unless the employer can prove that it cannot be available.It would therefore break down stereotypes and change attitudes around flexible working, allowing workers of all ages and backgrounds to fully benefit. The report is available at

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