Flexible Working: A Quick Update

The government has passed legislation that partially updates the rules on flexible working, but there is more to come.

What has happened?

The new legislation allows an employee to make 2 flexible working requests per year, instead of 1.

The employee is no longer obliged to consider the practicality or impact of their flexible working request when they submit it to you.

The time frames for dealing with a flexible working request have been reduced from 3 months to 2 months – all work including any appeal must be completed within this time frame.

Outside of this, the process remains the same. You must have a meeting with the employee to discuss their request and consider whether you can accommodate it. You can refuse the request if you can’t accommodate it, and the law still sets out permitted grounds for such a refusal. If you refuse a request, you must give a right of appeal.

What are we waiting for?

We don’t have firm confirmation of when the above changes come into effect. However, if you receive a flexible working request in the meantime, it would be wise to apply the new rules (as above). 

The new legislation doesn’t remove the requirement for an employee to have 6 months’ continuous service in order to make a flexible working request. But, this is on the way.  The government has confirmed their intention to make flexible working requests a day 1 right, they just haven’t written the legislation yet. It is expected to come into force in 2024.

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