The UK government has recently consulted on what it inaccurately calls ‘default flexibility’ - giving employees the right to request flexible working from their first day in employment.

However a right to ‘request’ is not a right to ‘have’ and therefore will not remove the barriers to employment faced by those who cannot take on full-time, inflexible work.

Currently, only 25% of roles are advertised as offering flexibility – cutting off most employers from the 90% of employees who are looking for flexible working in their next move.

This webinar will examine the evidence for introducing real default flexibility, and will review current best practice to illustrate what employers can do to use flexible working to compete distinctively in a jobseekers’ market, as well as remaining ahead of any legislative change that may be introduced.


Sarah Jackson OBE

Sarah is one of the UK’s leading experts on issues concerning work-life balance, inclusive employment and diversity, and has been instrumental in shaping employer policy and practice around family-friendly and flexible working, legislation and public attitudes for over two decades.

For 24 years until 2018, she led the work-life charity Working Families. She was appointed OBE for services to quality of life issues in 2007, and was twice recognised by HR Magazine as a Top 30 HR Most Influential Thinker. She is currently a Visiting Professor at Cranfield University School of Management, and also Chair of PiPA (Parents and Carers in Performing Arts), Deputy Chair of Commonweal Housing, and a Trustee of Rosa, the UK Fund for Women and Girls.

She has worked extensively with employers in the public, private and third sectors; with SMEs and global corporates - and understands diverse employer contexts and how to position family-friendly and flexible working so that it is relevant and practical.

She led the development of best practice awards and benchmarking for employers around family-friendly employment. She completely refreshed and relaunched the Working Families Top Employer awards in 2009 (originally established in 1990); oversaw their continued development and impact; and established a complementary awards scheme in Scotland from 2014. She chaired the judging panel for both sets of awards until 2018.

Professor Clare Kelliher

Clare's specialist interests include the organisation of work and the management of the employment relationship in the context of organisational change. She has a long standing interest in flexible working and recently directed a major project examining the implementation of flexible working practices on performance, in conjunction with Working Families and sponsored by 7 companies. Her work in this field has been influential in shaping government policy and organisational practice.

She is currently working on a project examining employee engagement in multi-national companies, in collaboration with colleagues at Cass Business School and Penn State (USA) and Tilburg (Netherlands) universities. She is a member of the Guru Group set up to support the Government Taskforce on employee engagement. She has published widely in her field including numerous articles, book chapters and books. Her recent book, co-edited with Julia Richardson, New Ways of Organizing Work: developments, perspectives and experiences, published by Routledge deals with the implications of different approaches to organising work and draws on studies of organisations in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. She presents her work at academic and practitioner conferences and acts as an advisor to companies and government organisations.


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