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As foreshadowed in vague (and it seems, somewhat inaccurate) reports in the Sunday papers, the government has today announced its new proposals to help parents work more flexibly - primarily to allow working parents to work part-time. The proposals will apply to parents of children under 6 years old (and to parents of disabled children under 18 years old).

According to this afternoon's DTI press release, the proposals will operate in the following way:

"- The employee makes a written request to their employer, which is followed up by a meeting. The employer should make a practical business assessment on how the flexible working can be arranged. It is estimated, on the basis of current practice, that 80% of requests will be settled at this meeting. 

"- If a request cannot be accepted, the employer must fully explain the business reasons in writing. The employee can appeal a negative decision using dispute resolution and ultimately go to an employment tribunal. Estimates, based on current practice, suggest that only 1% of requests will end up at a tribunal."

A copy of the full press release is available here.