New flexible working Act worries FDs

Nearly one in three FDs expect their company to be damaged by legislation that allows working parents more flexible hours.

This week’s Accountancy Age/ Reed Accountancy Personnel Big Question found that although over half of respondents were unconcerned by the new laws, 29% of those asked did expect the changes to have a material effect on the company’s bottom line.

The laws incorporated into the new Employment Act offer longer maternity and paternity leave and entitle parents to request the ability to work flexibly. The employer must allow this flexibility unless there is a strong business case not to do so. ‘Which moron dreams up these directives?’ asked one angry FD. ‘Working hours are determined by client demands and if we allow flexible hours we cannot guarantee delivery of our service.’

Another thought the rules could have more drastic results: ‘These changes mean we will have to make people redundant.’

But many were willing to comply. ‘Getting and keeping excellent staff is probably the most important role of a manager,’ said Malcolm Ace, director of finance at the University of Plymouth. ‘I would accept the occasional disruption caused by flexibility as a price for excellent staff.’

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