Labour has unveiled plans to make flexible working “a force for good” for all workers after the coronavirus pandemic.
The public health crisis triggered a switch to home working for many office-based employees. But Labour ’s deputy leader and Shadow Future of Work Secretary Angela Rayner insisted that “flexible working is not just about working from home”.
She vowed to “fundamentally change working practices for the better” if the party wins power.
Plans include flexible, compressed and staggered hours and flexibility around childcare and caring responsibilities.
Ms Rayner also demanded the “right to switch off” and disconnect from work at home outside of working hours.
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She said: “Flexible working is not just about working from home, it is about a fundamental change to working practices to improve the lives of all working people.
“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.
“The right to flexible working will change our economy and the world of work for the better, stop women losing out at work or even dropping out of the workforce altogether, end the sexist assumption of dad being at work in the office and mum looking after the kids at home, and improve the lives of millions of workers.”
A Government spokeswoman said: “We have always been clear that flexible working means a lot more than just working from home, and covers a range of working arrangements including part-time working, flexi-time and compressed hours.
“These arrangements can improve productivity and boost work life balance which is why the 2019 manifesto already contains a clear commitment to consulting on making flexible working the default unless employers have good reason not to.
“We have reconvened the Flexible Working Taskforce to better understand and promote this type of working.”