By Claire West

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, will today (Tuesday) announce a new package offering flexible working arrangements to everyone.

Mr Clegg will point out that: "Today's households aren't all comprised of one breadwinner and one homemaker — mum in the kitchen, dad in the office."

Although welcomed by Union leaders employers are concerned that "maximum flexibility" could make it difficult for employers.

John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“Small firms by their very nature operate flexibly and most small firms offer flexible working because they recognise the business benefits in terms of greater productivity and staff morale. Extending the right to request flexible working will simply increase administrative pressures on the smallest of businesses at a time when the Government should be doing all it can to enable them to grow.

“Small firms are key to taking on staff that have been out of the labour market for more than 12 months, but constant changes to legislation is a burden for them. Allowing chunks of maternity and paternity leave of as little as one week to be taken will place a disproportionate strain on small firms and will be very complicated to administer. We would want to see a much higher level in place, in addition to safeguards for employers who are unable to accommodate requested leave patterns.”