Nearly 65% of the UK workforce are now aware of their right to request flexible working arrangements, compared to 41% in 2003, a survey by the Department of Trade & Industry has found.
Under legislation introduced in April 2003, employers have a duty to consider staff requests for flexible working, although these should be weighed up against the needs of the business as a whole.
As a result, nearly 25% of working parents with young children have asked to work flexibly over the past two years, and 14% of all employees have requested flexible working arrangements, the DTI's Flexible Working Employee Survey 2005 found.
The proportion of requests accepted by employers has also risen, from 77% in 2003 to 81% in 2005.
Childcare was the primary reason for making a request to work flexibly. The research revealed that more than 20% of employees with children under the age of six, compared to just 10% of employees without dependents, had submitted a request for flexible working.
Since the introduction of the right to request flexible working in 2003, the proportion of declined requests has dropped by almost half from 20% to 11%, the DTI survey found.