It is widely expected that an extension of the right to request flexible working, introduced nearly 10 years ago, will be announced in the Queen’s speech later on today.

A study called Flexible Working: Provision and Uptake, undertaken by the Chartered Institute of Personnel ad Development (CIPD) has revealed that fewer than 5 per cent of employers have had problems complying with the current right of employees to request flexible working.

In fact, the study shows that seven out of ten employers report that flexible working supports employee retention, motivation and engagement. Almost two thirds of employers believe flexible working supports their recruitment activities and half believe it has a positive impact on reducing absence as well as on boosting productivity. While six in 10 employees with no managerial responsibility who don’t work flexibly would like to do so.

Ben Willmott, CIPD Head of Public Policy, said: “The CIPD has long been calling for the extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees, despite claims from some quarters that the legislation is burdensome for businesses. Similar concerns were raised over a decade ago about the plans to introduce the statutory right to request flexible working for parents. Those fears have proved unfounded, regardless of size of organisation.

“Our report also shows that wild claims about risk that extending the light-touch right to request legislation would lead to large numbers of tribunal claims are unfounded. The right to request flexible working has not contributed to any significant increase in employment tribunal claims.”

The CIPD is urging the Government to hold its nerve and go ahead with the extension to all employees in the speech.  Mr Willmott added: “The result will be good news for business, employers and the wider economy.”