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Queen's speech: What it means for HR

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The Government has affirmed it will stick with plans to extend the right to flexible working to parents of children up to the age of 16 instead of age six.

The Queen announced at the state opening of Parliament that the Government would go ahead with plans to extend the right for parents of older children despite suggestions from new business secretary Peter Mandelson in October that the extension would be postponed due to the economic downturn.

Commenting on the announcement, Jackie Orme, chief executive of the CIPD, said: "We are delighted. Offering flexible working is one way of making sure you maintain that all-important engagement. A delay to ‘reduce burdens' on businesses would have sent out the completely wrong message and would have damaged efforts to make the substantial business case for flexible working."

And Sarah Williams-Gardener, campaign director of Opportunity Now, which campaigns for employers to create inclusive workplaces for women, said: "We fully support the Government's intention to extend the right to request flexible working. The Government's progressive approach to workplace practices should be applauded.

"Smarter working - job sharing, flexible working, part-time working or homeworking - is fundamental to making society fairer and more equal."

The government has proposed further changes, which will affect HR functions:

A new single Equality Bill to reduce the gender pay gap. Click HERE

The right for employees to request time off to train and the right to an apprenticeship to reduce unemployment and ‘skill up' the workforce. Click HERE