'Promote flexible working'
The Equal Opportunities Commission has called on accountants to take the lead in promoting flexible working under new rights that come into force in April.
The EOC sees accountants as ‘key’ to raising awareness of the legislation to SMEs. Its recent survey showed small businesses are unsure about employment legislation and regard accountants as their most important source of advice and information.
But firms may face a challenge to implement the rules themselves.
Patricia Hewitt recently condemned the accountancy industry for its ‘culture of presenteeism’, which she argued feeds the myth that ‘working long hours is essential to career progression’.
Mid-tier firm Baker Tilly has run flexible work pilots in Guilford and Manchester, allowing employees to shift forward or backwards their 8-hour working days. Deborah Rennie, human resource director at Baker Tilly, said the scheme had been ‘well received’ by its staff.