Flexible working

Changes to flexible working came into place on 6th April with the introduction of new regulations removing the eligibility condition of 26 weeks’ continuous employment before a request could be made so as to make the right to request flexible working effective from day one of employment.

In addition to the new regulations, the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 also came into force on 6 April making further changes to the right to make a flexible working request and the statutory procedure that must be followed by an employer when considering such a request.

These changes to flexible working include:

  • a new right to request flexible working from the first day of employment.
  • allowing an employee to make 2 flexible working requests in any 12-month period rather than one.
  • a new requirement that an employer must not reject a request without consulting the employee first.
  • employers now having 2 months to decide on the request rather than 3 months.

The ACAS Code of Practice on requests for flexible working has been amended with effect from 6 April 2024 to reflect the above changes and support employers and employees with the new scheme through the provision of practical examples. Flexible working: new ACAS guidance: https://www.acas.org.uk/acas-code-of-practice-on-flexible-working-requests/  

A failure to follow the Code does not, in itself, make an employer liable to legal proceedings but Employment Tribunals will take the Code into account when considering relevant cases. But it is important to remember that consulting with an employee is now required before a decision is reached and within the reduced timescale of 2 months.

Need to know more?

If you have any queries about this or any other matter regarding employment law, please do not hesitate to contact Carmel Sunley.