Flexible working rights should be extended

The government is believed to be looking at plans to give all employees the right to request flexible working.

Yvette Cooper, the Work and Pensions Minister, said that her department is investigating ways of allowing more people to adopt flexible working patterns.

At present, only the working parents of children aged 16 and carers are entitled to ask for flexible working.

In a press interview, Ms Cooper said: "You want people to offer flexible working from the beginning, and we need to look again at how the legislation can support different ways of doing that.

"A lot of employers have found that offering the right to request flexible working more widely actually helped them in their business, and they've been willing to look at it for employees in all circumstances.

"There will be some areas where it's not possible to fit in particular hours where the nature of the business makes that hard - but what you need is the cultural change for everybody to think differently."