UK Firms Are Not Responding to the Demand from Employees for Flexible Benefits and Work

UK Firms Are Not Responding to the Demand from Employees for Flexible Benefits and Work

49/04 4 April 2004


UK firms are realising the benefits of flexible working, with one third of firms offering work options for full time employees according to the Business in Britain survey from Lloyds TSB Corporate.

A year on from government legislation1 that enshrined the right for working parents to request flexibility from employers, British businesses are embracing flexible working practices. Thirty three per cent of firms currently offer flexible working, with this figure rising to 37 per cent for larger businesses (51+ staff).

Flexible contracts and working hours are a major boon for businesses’ staff retention; over one third (37 per cent) of businesses have seen improved staff morale following the introduction of flexible working and half say that being a bit more adaptable has helped them retain valued staff. One in five (19 per cent) also claimed that providing work options improved productivity.

Peter Navin from Lloyds TSB Corporate, said: “It is very encouraging to see that so many British firms now have established work options for staff. With competition for talent so fierce, companies need to look for ways to be employees’ first choice. Being a flexible employer can make the difference.”



However, despite the number of firms doubting the benefits of flexible working being as low as eight per cent, there are still practical issues preventing companies embracing more worker-friendly policies. Of businesses not currently operating flexible working policies, only one per cent put their reticence down to expense. A further 20 per cent said they had too few staff to make it work, but the majority (71 per cent) said it was because it would prove impractical for their business.

Peter Navin continues: “Today’s business environment demands high performance in the workplace – flexible working can foster loyalty, motivation and effectiveness amongst employees that is crucial for business success. The signs are that UK employers see flexibility as help rather than hindrance.”


Notes to Editors:

1 Flexible working legislation (the Employment Act 2002 came into force on 6 April 2003 and introduced these key measures:

  • Parents with children aged under the age of 6, and disabled children aged under 18, will have the legal right to get their employers to seriously consider requests to work flexibly.
  • Statutory Maternity Pay will be increased by £25 to a maximum of £100 a week.
  • Paid maternity leave will be increased by 8 weeks to 26 weeks and most new mothers will also be able take a further 6 months unpaid leave - totalling one year off. For the first time ever, new fathers will have the right to two weeks' paid paternity leave at £100 a week.
  • Parents who adopt, will also get new rights for the first time similar to maternity and paternity pay and leave. The process for maternity, paternity and adoption leave will be simplified to make it easier for companies to handle applications.
  • Around 60% of UK companies, many of them SMEs, will be able to reclaim over 100% of all the maternity, paternity and adoption leave they pay out.

The Business in Britain survey has been carried since May 1992. Responses were received from 1,843 firms with turnover above £1 million.

Lloyds TSB Corporate provides financial, banking and advisory services, tailored to the needs of businesses with a turnover greater than £2 million per year. It currently manages the financial requirements of over 15,000 corporate customers throughout the UK, incorporating private equity, acquisition finance, capital markets, structured asset finance and registrars.

For more information:

Vicky Taylor / Stephen Finch

Press Office

Lloyds TSB Corporate

Tel: 020 7356 2021 / 2401