HC Deb 28 June 2001 vol 370 c149W
Mr. Hendrick

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the terms of reference are for the taskforce that is to consider how to give parents of young children a right to make a request to work flexible hours. [1707]

Ms Hewitt

The Work and Parents Taskforce will look at how to meet parents' desire for more flexible work patterns in a way which is compatible with business efficiency. It will look at how best to encourage and enable employers to create additional opportunities for parents of young children to work flexibly, for the benefit of employers, employees and their children.

The Taskforce will:

  • building on best practice, design a light-touch legislative approach to giving parents of young children a right to make a request to work flexible hours and to have this request considered seriously by the employer;
  • take fully into account the particular needs of small employers in designing such a solution, including whether they should be subject to special conditions;
  • integrate existing best practice and the reasonable operational needs of business;
  • put the emphasis on resolving requests within the business rather than through applications to employment tribunals;
  • consider whether other changes to the law are needed to remove any legal or institutional impediments to flexible working;
  • consider what further support would help employers and employees to make and consider cases for flexible working; and
  • consider whether extra help with the training and development of people working flexibly is needed.

The Taskforce will report in November 2001. It will be chaired by Professor Sir George Bain. Other members of the Work and Parents Taskforce will be:

Fiona Cannon Equal Opportunities Commission
Kay Carberry Trades Union Congress
John Cridland Confederation of British Industry
Martin Gayle Martin Gayle at Aveda
Mike Griffin King's College Hospital Trust
Anne Minto OBE Smiths Industries
Sue Monk Parents at Work, Chief Executive
Maureen Rooney Trades Union Congress
Simon Topman J. E. Hudson & Co. (ACME Whistles)