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Right to request flexible working set to become law by April 2009

The Equal Pay and Flexible Working Bill, which amends the Equal Pay Act 1970, received its first reading in the House of Lords last week.

The Bill contains 3 main proposals:

  • The right to request flexible working will be extended to all those with parental responsibility for children aged 16 and under.
  • Paying men and women differently for the same work (or work of equal value or work rated as equivalent) will become unlawful, unless doing so can be objectively justified.
  • If an employer loses an equal pay case brought by an individual employee, the employer must carry out a general equal pay audit and make the results of the audit publicly available.

Its estimated around 25 million workers will benefit from the right to ask for time off from April 2009 if the bill has a smooth passage through parliament. It had been previously speculated that the bill may be delayed due to the current economic climate.

Mary MacLeod, chief executive of the Family and Parenting Institute, said, 'Parents repeatedly tell us that being able to work flexibly would really help them juggle raising a family and earning a living. We are pleased that the Government has stuck to its plans and has really listened to the needs of parents in this country'.

posted by Dizali Mentha

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