Every country has its own laws outlining the types and amounts of paid time off employers must provide their workers. Leave types include (but aren’t limited to) vacation, sick, and family, and all are at least partly intended to ensure employees can balance their professional and personal lives.
One notable trend in recent years that relates to paid leave is the dramatic rise in workplace flexibility, including both when and where workers are allowed to perform their duties. In the U.K., employees who have worked for the same employer for 26 weeks or longer have the legal right to formally apply for flexible working.
The U.K. defines flexible working as “a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, e.g., having flexible start and finish times, or working from home.” Significantly, the law applies to all employees, not just parents and other caregivers, and employers must address each request in a defined reasonable manner.
Last October, Singapore introduced the Tripartite Standard on Flexible Work Arrangements, a voluntary program intended to help local businesses meet the demands of a global workforce that wants more flexibility. Just a month after the program’s introduction, more than 250 organizations employing 210,000 people had agreed to use the standard.
Given changing laws, official programs and employer policies, and practices that promote workplace flexibility, it’s easy to forget that it was not a primary factor in employee engagement just a decade ago. Workplace flexibility is now widely considered one of the top four engagement drivers.
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Suzie Woodcock joined Radius’ HR advisory group in 2011 after working in a management position for the Spain-based multinational MANGO. She provides advice on a wide range of HR subjects, including employee relations, recruitment, contracts of employment, mergers and acquisitions, HR due diligence, and compensation and benefits. Based in Bristol, U.K., she has a BSc from the University of West of England and CIPD level 5 Diploma in HR management.