The changes mean that all employees who have been at their company for 26 weeks or more now have the right to request working hours to suit them.
The coalition’s policy could allow 20m staff to work part-time, from home or job-share and could cost UK businesses £39.8m a year, according to government figures.
Yet employers stand to make a net gain, the government says, with the policy generating £55.8m in annual benefits. Firms must examine all applications but can reject requests on eight grounds, including cost.
But new research has found that 84 per cent of employers think the changes will cause resentment among staff and 58 per cent think it will increase the number of employment tribunals they will have to face. The research, conducted by law firm Squire Patton Boggs, surveyed over 100 businesses in the UK with a combined workforce of one million people. Fraser Younson, a partner, said: “It is clear employers have significant reservations about the impact this policy will have on their organisations.”