Employment: Remote Working

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 26th May 2021.

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Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Conservative, Tatton

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential employment opportunities of remote working for (a) vulnerable, (b) disabled and (c) elderly people who might struggle to physically attend a workplace.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The Government is aware of the employment opportunities which flexible working can help create for vulnerable, disabled, older workers and more generally for those who might struggle to attend a workplace.

The Government has committed to consult on making flexible working the default unless employers have good reasons not to. The consultation will consider flexible working in all its forms – it is not just about where people work, but also about when they work and the associated number of hours. The consultation will be launched in due course.

In March 2018, the Flexible Working Taskforce – a partnership across business groups, trade unions, charities, and government departments – was set up and ran for a period of 18 months to advise the Government on policies and proposals around flexible working. Earlier this year the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets wrote to the co-chair of the Taskforce, Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), to commission a further 18 months’ work from the Taskforce to help inform the Government’s thinking as we develop the detail of new policies and navigate the impact of Covid-19 on future ways of working.

In recognition of the changes brought by the pandemic, Access to Work introduced a more flexible offer to support disabled people move into and remain in employment. The new flexible offer complements support provided by employers and contains a combination of support that can be tailored to meet the needs of new Covid-19 working arrangements, including for remote working.

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