Flexible working should be ‘new normal’ after pandemic, Labour says



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lexible working should become the “new normal” after the experience during the coronavirus pandemic, Labour has said.

With millions moving to home working almost overnight in March 2020 in response to the first national coronavirus lockdown, the Opposition party is calling for the right to flexible working to be made mandatory in all jobs to ensure that “work fits around people’s lives instead of dictating their lives”.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said the concept would not just be about allowing people to work from home, as they have done to reduce Covid-19 transmissions over the past 16 months, but should also include flexible, compressed, staggered or annualised hours.

The idea is to allow people to spend less time commuting and spend more time with their families in future.

There should be employer leniency around school runs and other family and caring responsibilities, including childcare during school holidays, the shadow secretary for the future of work said.

Labour has placed renewed emphasis on workers’ rights in recent days as it looks to use the summer months to reconnect with voters following its drubbing during the 2019 general election and its by-election defeat in Hartlepool in May.

Officials pointed to the pledge in the last Conservative manifesto, committing to consulting on making flexible working the “default unless employers have good reasons not to”, and argued the Government had broken its promise by failing to bring forward a review.

“Flexible working means work fitting around people’s lives, not dictating their lives.

“Labour will make flexible working a force for good so that everyone is able to enjoy the benefits of flexible working, from a better work-life balance to less time commuting and more time with their family.

“The ‘new normal’ after this pandemic must mean a new deal for all working people based on flexibility, security and strengthened rights at work.



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