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Departmental Flexible Working

Volume 468: debated on Monday 26 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff (a) have applied to work flexible hours and (b) work flexible hours (i) in his Department and (ii) the executive agencies for which his Department is responsible. (164325)

DEFRA has in place a process to allow parents (adopters, guardians or foster carers) of children under six or of disabled children under 18, and for carers of adults, to apply to work flexibly in line with recent legislation. However, information on applications for flexible working is not held centrally and could be provided only by incurring disproportionate cost. Many requests for flexible working may be made informally between managers and staff and will not therefore be formally recorded.

The Department believes in giving its staff every opportunity to work to a pattern that best suits their lifestyle and the demands of family and dependents. This contributes to staff welfare and ultimately to delivery of a high quality service to our customers.

DEFRA is committed to helping its staff maintain a healthy work/life balance. This can only be achieved if employees and their managers are prepared to think creatively about working patterns so that efficient working can be combined with other responsibilities, and with employees’ interests and enjoyment of life.