Regulations around flexible working are likely to change in October 2023, so we’ve put together a roundup so you can familiarise yourself and get prepared in your business.

There are several changes to the current flexible working regulations listed below, as well as details of what doesn’t change.

Since the Pandemic, work-life balance has become a huge priority to so many people, that flexibility is key to attracting and retaining the best people for your business, so it’s more important than ever for organisations to understand the legislation so you can make the most of it for your people and for the success of your business, otherwise you may run the risk of disengaging them from their work, or losing good people altogether.

What changes;

  • Employees will now be able to make two flexible working requests in any 12 month period.
  • Requests have to be dealt-with by employers within 2 months of receipt of a request if no extension is agreed.
  • Employers are not able to refuse a request until they have ‘consulted’ with the employee (although there is no legislative requirement of what that ‘consultation’ needs to include, the usual expectation is that it is ‘reasonable’ and ‘genuine’).
  • Employees will no longer, in their application, have to explain what effect the employee thinks agreeing to the request would have and how any such effect might be dealt with by the employer.

What doesn’t change:

  • It doesn’t make flexible working a ‘Day 1 right’. Employees still need to have 26 week’s service before they are able to make a request. The Government has indicated that it will create Day 1 employment rights through secondary legislation – although none has appeared as yet. The issue is not covered in the Act.
  • It doesn’t require employers to offer a ‘right of appeal’ if a flexible working request is rejected. The offer of a right of appeal is recommended in the ACAS Code of Practice on Flexible Working (therefore it is usually advisable to include a right of appeal in your process); however these changes have not made it a legal requirement of the process.
  • There is no requirement that consultation with the employee is substantive or covers the options available. Indeed, there is no minimum standard of consultation set out at all.

If you need any help updating your company policies to reflect these changes or advice on how to navigate the process of a flexible working request, get in touch to speak with one of our very friendly consultants. You can also take a look at the HR Documentation page on our website for more details.

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