NEW rules on flexible working being introduced following the Employment Act 2002 could make women less employable, according to the results of a poll carried out by Croner, the UK's leading provider of business information.

Human resources professionals were asked: "Do you think the forthcoming flexible working regulations will make employers think twice when recruiting women?", with more than 60 per cent of respondents agreeing.

Under the regulations, which come into effect on Sunday, eligible parents of children under the age of six will have the legal right to request more flexible working arrangements.

Employers must seriously consider such requests and can only refuse if they can demonstrate that the arrangement would have a detrimental effect on their business.