NEW legislation on flexible working is yet another unwelcome hurdle for Somerset businesses, warns Somerset Chamber CEO Rupert Cox.

Introduced on June 30, the change in the law means all employees have the right to request flexible working – something previously limited to carers and those looking after children.

But speaking about the new legislation, Rupert Cox said: “Over the past four years small employers have had to handle increased maternity leave, introduction of paternity leave and now flexible working requests. Zero working hours contracts are being frowned upon, but flexible working driven by the employee is regarded as positive – an ironic contradiction!

“This will eventually become a barrier to employment and job creation. It could be argued that while the employee is at work they are more productive, but across the entire business productivity is likely to drop if too many people request flexible working.”

However, employers can turn down a request on business grounds.