Changes are coming to the legislation around flexible working requests. In this blog post we’ll set out what the changes are and what you need to be doing.
Time to read our post: 3 minutes
The questions answered in this post are:
1. What Are the Current Rules in Relation to Flexible Working Requests?
A flexible working request can cover changes to start and finish times, changes to work locations or part-time working requests.
At the moment, anyone who has more than 26 weeks’ service can put in a flexible working request. Employees can put in one flexible working request each 12 months.
Currently, the process for submitting a flexible working request is that the employee writes to their employer. The letter must state that the individual is submitting a flexible working request. Additionally, the letter should state the type of flexibility the individual is looking for. The employee must also state their views on how the flexibility might impact the business and propose solutions to address potential issues. Finally, the letter must confirm whether the employee has submitted any other flexible working requests.
The employer then considers the request before meeting with the employee to discuss the request. Following the meeting, the employer has 3 months to provide a decision.
Employers are required to reasonably consider the request and there are legal grounds for rejecting the application. When an employer rejects the request, the employee has the right to appeal that decision.
2. What Are the Upcoming Changes to Flexible Working Request Legislation?
The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill 2022-23 sets out the changes that are being proposed to flexible working requests.
The bill is now at the final stage of becoming legislation and is awaiting royal assent. Although confirmation is pending, the bill will likely come into effect in April 2024.
The key changes are:
- Employees will be able to submit two flexible working requests in a 12 month period.
- Employers must consult with employees before they refuse a request. However, the legislation does not set out what that consultation should look like.
- Employees will no longer need to explain in their application how their request could impact the business and how those impacts could be managed.
- Employers will now have 2 months to provide a decision (rather than 3 months).
What Do You Need to Do?
Right now, nothing.
This is something for you to be aware of and the key action that you’ll need to take, most likely in early 2024, is update any flexible working policy that you have to reflect the changes.