"This is crucial given the continued rise in the cost of childcare, which could risk pricing some parents out of employment."
- Jane Hulme, HR director at Unum UK
In 2022, Unum UK’s research into sandwich generation workers found that of those surveyed (2,000), 24% of adults in the UK needed to take time off work to manage their caring responsibilities but only 38% of employees offered flexible working hours to help balance work and home life. Almost half of adults (43%) would like to see their employer improve flexible work arrangements.
Recently, Unum UK found that one in five (19%) of its 850+ staff currently work flexibly within either part-time or full-time compressed hours. Consequently, the employee benefits provider is now offering its staff flexible working request rights from the first day of employment, rather than requiring the six-month waiting period under current employment law.
This decision includes allowing employees to make two flexible working requests in any 12-month period, as well as a commitment to respond to requests within 2 months. Unum UK has also removed the requirement for employees to explain how their flexible working request might work.
Commenting on this announcement, Jane Hulme, HR director at Unum UK, has said:
“The workplace and the needs of employees are changing rapidly and we are keen to lead the way and reflect the legislative changes before it becomes mandatory. As a responsible employer of choice, Unum recognises that embracing a flexible approach and being amenable will help attract and retain staff.”