Working Families has worked with and influenced a number of high profile companies to adopt their policies. Accenture provides an excellent case for flexible working in action. Employees are encouraged to ask for changes in their working patterns, either through performance appraisals or career counselling, or at any point in the year. Training in diversity management and flexible working is conducted. The number of part-time and flexible workers is increasing consistently. A detailed booklet is given out annually explaining the different benefits available to workers. (www. acenture.
com, accessed December 16th 2009) DTI Minister Gerry Sutcliffe analysis of the Work and Families Bill:"The Bill will result not only in more choice and flexibility for families, but help to achieve greater equality by enabling men to spend more time caring for their children and encouraging women back into the workplace. " (Hansard 5. 12. 05 col 704). Encouraging employer action and the government to make it acceptable for men to have a greater commitment to childcare, will not only allow them to have up to 6 months off, but also allow families to assess who is the more suitable carer.
The best employers include childcare as part of their benefit package, however, less than five per cent of employers offer financial support. (www. workingfamilies. org. uk, accessed December 13th 2009) Working Families is looking to push employers to offer tax efficient childcare support to thier workforce, particularly as the costs are usually a hinderance to work. Employee support of up to i?? 55 a week can be given free of tax and national insurance contributions if qualifying conditions are met.
However, the downfalls of this is that fewer national insurance contributions will have a wider impact on pensions or benefits. CSO's believe that the ethical employer should do much more than what Milton Friedman (1970) perceives "respect the law and seek the best deal it can for its shareholders in the free market. " It is clear that our ethical management policies of workers are much more advanced than many other countries today, many of whom are still grasping the concept of whether homosexuality should be allowed let alone in the workplace.
Cultures are changing and so we must adapt to encompass all walks of life. It is not just a case of making a profit anymore, as last year's Britain's Best Boss Winner NatWest North Regional MD, Chris Brindley explains: "a great boss cares about his or her people and their immediate families – you can't have a successful business unless you have good people. Looking after your people, listening to them, showing flexibility and helping them to be better at their job will lead to a better service for your customers and stakeholders." (www. britainsbestboss. com, accessed 15th December 2009)
The work of CSO's such as Stonewall and Working Families brings other dimensions to the workplace. It provides businesses with the opportunity to experience differing realms of expertise of which they may not have been able to benefit from before, for example, due to restraints from working because of sexual orientation or family commitments. We need CSO's not because they represent people, we need them because they get things done. (Marschall, 1999)