Government plans to extend the right to request flexible working to parents of children up to the age of 16 will create an employment nightmare for small business owners, leading industry figures have warned.
An extra 4.5 million parents in Britain are to gain the right to request more flexible hours, following the publication of the government's independent review last week. Currently, the right applies to parents with children under six years of age, or under 18 for disabled children.
Gordon Brown said the change would benefit Britain because the nine-to-five office day contributed to pupils' poor behaviour and exam results. However, critics claim that small businesses will struggle to cope with the change.
FSB employment chairman Alan Tyrrell said the move would put many small businesses in an impossible position. "The current flexible working regime seems to be working, but the government should be cautious about extending it too far, which could be damaging to small businesses and the millions of people they employ," he said.
The changes are expected to come into force next April.