§ Sandra Gidley
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the percentage of employees who work some form of flexible working arrangement in each of the last three years; and if she will make a statement. 1025W
§ Mr. Sutcliffe
The Labour Force Survey, conducted by the Office for National Statistics, asks respondents about their agreed work arrangement. The number of employees who reported that they work some form of flexible working (defined as part-time, flexitime, annualised hours, term time working, job sharing, compressed working week, zero hours contract) was 41.0 per cent. in 2001, 41.5 per cent. in 2002 and 42.0 per cent. in 2003. If the definition of flexible working is narrowed to exclude part-time working, the respective figures are 21.6 per cent. in 2001, 22.0 per cent. in 2002 and 22.4 per cent. in 2003. Figures for 2004 will be available in early 2005.
§ Sandra Gidley
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the demand for flexible working patterns; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Sutcliffe
The DTI has collected evidence on the demand for flexible working patterns from a number of sources. The first DTI Flexible Working Employee Survey was carried out between September 2003 and February 2004. The survey indicated that 13 per cent. of all employees had requested a flexible working pattern since April 2003. The percentage of employees with children aged under six years who requested a flexible working pattern (and for whom their employer is legally obliged to consider the request) was higher, at 24 per cent. Of all employees who requested flexible working arrangements, 38 per cent. requested to change to a part-time working arrangement; 25 per cent. requested flexi-time; 13 per cent. requested reduced hours for a limited time; 10 per cent. requested to work from home on a regular b#sis and 8 per cent. requested a compressed working week.
The second Work-Life Balance Study—employees' survey, carried out during January and February 2003, asked employees whether they worked particular flexible working patterns. If they did not (or had not in the past year), they were then asked whether they would like to. Table 1 shows the percentages of these employees who said they would like to take up particular flexible working practices.
Table 1: Demand for specific flexible working practices Flexible working practice Percentage who
would like to take
up the flexible
Work part time 22 Work only during school term time1 33 Job-share 17 Work flexitime 49 Work a compressed working week 34 Work annualised hours 25 Work reduced hours for a limited period 36 Work from home on a regular basis 29 1 In addition, representative of employees with dependent children aged under 19 (base: 747 employees). Note: All percentages are representative of employees who have not used the particular flexible working practice in past year with current employer (base: > 1,463 employees). Source: Palmer, T. (2004) Results of the first Flexible Working Employee Survey. Employment Relations Occasional Papers, DTI.
Both the results of the first Flexible Working Employee Survey and the Work Life Balance stud# reports, which provide greater analysis, are available at http://www.dti.gov.uk/er/inform.htm under 'EMAR Publications'. Both surveys are to be repeated, with the second Flexible Working Employee Survey expected to be available in 2005; the third Work-Life Balance study is due to be conducted in early 2006.