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Graduates unlikely to benefit from flexible working rights

Published: Thursday, 15 May 2008   Category: Life after graduation

Government-unveiled plans to increase flexible working rights are unlikely to directly benefit recent graduates, few of whom are expected to fit the required criteria, it has been claimed.

Prime minister Gordon Brown confirmed on BBC Breakfast this morning that plans to extend the current scheme were going ahead, allowing all parents with children under the age of 16 to request flexible hours.

An extra 4.5 million parents will enjoy the rights, which are at present restricted to the disabled and those with children aged five or under.

Mr Brown reassured graduate job-hunters concerned that the move would adversely affect the economy, claiming many employers would welcome the news.

"Flexible working is the right to request flexible working; it is not an automatic right," he declared.

Employers will retain the right to refuse permission for workers adopting non-standard working hours where their business would suffer unduly as a result.

Although the flexible working review recommended not extending the scheme to all employees, bosses may allow flexible working on a case-by-case basis so graduates could still gain.

Nine out of ten requests to work flexibly were approved last year.

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