Ottawa examines flex-time right

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In a sure sign of changing times, the Liberal governments is considering a legislative update that would see all federally regulated employees given the right to request flexible working hours and force all federally regulated employers to respond formally.

The proposed amendments to the Canada Labour Code would grant additional rights to an estimated 820,000 employees – equal to six per cent of the nation’s workforce – and effect approximately 12,000 businesses across industries such as banking and communications.

Under the proposal, a worker could submit a formal request to their employer for flex time and the employer would be required to respond to the request within a set deadline, providing an evidence-based explanation in the event that the request is denied.

A discussion paper released Monday by federal Employment Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk said the move is designed to address concerns over work-life balance, particularly among the millennial generation.

“As a number of recent studies suggest, many are seeking more flexibility in when, how and where they work because they highly value work-life balance,” the paper states.

“Millennials are the fastest growing segment of Canada’s workforce and have now become the largest generation in the Canadian workforce,” it continues.

A number of nations currently have similar rules in places including Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom – as well as some U.S. jurisdictions, such as Vermont and San Francisco.

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