CHANGES to flexible working hours could create an “unnecessary burden” on employers, a legal expert has warned.

It is good business sense to accommodate request for flexible hours where possible, according to Alex Jones, employment law specialist at QS Howlett Clarke in Brighton and Hove.

But Mr Clarke said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s much heralded announcement about flexible working “changed very little”.

He said: “The right to request flexible working was established a number of years ago for parents and other carers in employment. “Mr Clegg has simply extended this right to all employees, whatever their personal circumstances.

“However, employers don’t have to agree to any changes in working arrangements.

“On the plus side this may offer a helpful road map, but equally, it may end up just creating a potentially time consuming administrative burden.

“It makes good business sense to accommodate flexible working when you can, as it usually proves positive for the business.”

The changes were introduced last month with every employee now having the right to request flexible working.

Unions and employment groups welcomed the move.

But last week a survey revealed some 60 per cent of businesses in Brighton and Hove were unaware of new flexible working laws.

Three quarters of city workers want to work flexible hours but 80 per cent do not know their rights, according to Jobsite.

Chris Gape, director of Cobb PR, based in Brighton and Eastbourne, said: “Clearly, business imperatives have to come first but providing we are all satisfied that they can be met there is the scope to be flexible.”