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2019-11-08 13:50:13

Labour will today unveil new reforms it claims will transform the workplace. The party plans to increase statutory maternity pay from nine to 12 months, give all workers the right to choose their hours, require large employers to introduce a menopause workplace policy and tackle sexual harassment in the workplace. And among other controversial provisions, the party plans to give employees the right to chose when and where to work. Sky News host Gillian Joseph confronted Ms Chakrabarti on the issue: “One of the other things you’re looking to do is to increase workers rights to choose their working hours.

“That’s something we’d all love to do to decide how many hours we work for but it’s not really practical.

“How is that going to work? How will the employee be able to choose how many hours they work?”

The Labour peer replied: “At the moment, you have a right to request that you are able to have flexible hours but it’s just a right to request and it’s too easily battered off.

“We can replace the single right to request with a presumption that unless the employer can explain why it wouldn’t work, they should grant it.

“Now, this could be really good for employers and employees.”

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But unsatisfied with the answer, the Sky News host insisted: “But how is it practical for employers?

“There are many employers who are running a 24/7 operation.

“How is that going to work for them?”

The Labour politician failed to provide specifics of how employers would benefit from the policy and merely claimed they could still reject the proposals coming from the employees provided they gave an explanation for the rejection. 

She said: “How it is going to work for them is that if a role - and by the way, flexible working isn’t just about hours, it’s also about where you work, some people like to work remotely for part of the week because that helps with their travel time and other care commitments at home.

“So it’s a right for the employee to say ‘I think I can do this job perhaps compressing my hours so that I do all my hours three days a week, or I work at home one day a week’.

“And the employer talks with them and says actually, this will work or this will work amended or this won’t work at all because you’re a security guard and I need you to stand at the door for these hours and there’s no way that would work.

“But at least the employer would have to explain and justify and have the conversation with the employee.

“And that frankly is what good employers and good managers would do anyway.”

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Dawn Butler, Labour’s shadow women and equalities secretary, said the “workplace revolution” would bring about “a step-change in how women are treated at work”.

But Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said that Jeremy Corbyn’s idea for workers to set their own hours would hurt companies nationwide.

Miss Leadsom said: “A vote for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is a vote to put businesses and jobs at risk. Their reckless plans would cripple businesses across the country, leaving hard-working people to pay the price.” 

Her comments came as Laura Pidcock, Labour’s shadow employment rights secretary, revealed she wants employees to dictate how much they earn.

Speaking at a LabourList event, Miss Pidcock said: “Workers should be evaluating what their rate of pay is for the skill they have and the job they do. 

“That should not be imposed by an employer.”


express.co.uk Alessandra Scotto Di Santolo
work hours would labour they workers employers their right chakrabarti choose have


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