No clocking in... People could work from home anytime they felt like it, without needing a reason or excuse.

London - Restricting flexible working to parents has created “workplace conflict” with those who do not have children, a study claims.

Older workers in particular were likely to feel resentment at the special treatment afforded to colleagues with children.

Over a quarter of workers aged between 45 and 54 (27 percent) said they “think their employers put their colleagues who have children or families first”.

Flexible working can mean anything from doing only two days per week, to only working during school term time, to always leaving the office at 3.30pm.

Resentment also exists among older parents who were not allowed to work flexibly when their children were young, because flexible working laws did not come into force until 2003, when they applied to parents with children under the age of six. The age limit was raised to 16 in 2009.

But the British government is planning to lift these restrictions by 2014, allowing every employee in Britain to work flexibly. As is the case now, bosses will still be able to turn down a request as long as they have a “good business reason” to do so.

The British Chambers of Commerce is opposed to the extension, warning that nearly three-quarters of firms say it “would be detrimental to their businesses”. - Daily Mail