From April 2003 parents will have the right to ask for flexible working hours. Employers expect 350,000 people per year to benefit from flexible working. Employer Links, a voluntary scheme based in Cambridgeshire, promotes family-friendly policies to IT organisations and believes this can make a difference to staff retention and encouraging women to return to work after maternity leave.
Kate Warboys, work-life balance consultant for the organisation, said, "Under the new regulations employers will have to make accommodations for the rights of parents, but forward-thinking firms are already reaping the benefits of adopting a proactive approach to flexible working."
She said flexible working contributes to the retention and recruitment of a skilled work force and increases motivation and loyalty. It is predominantly women who take career breaks to care for children and many find it difficult keeping their IT skills up-to-date. In the face of pressure from the skills shortage this legislation offers an opportunity to hold on to valuable staff, she said.