The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 has received Royal Assent and the new rules are expected to come into force in 2024.
The act was designed to address the change in working habits following COVID-19 and is intended to give employees improved flexibility over their how, where and when they work.
Some of the key changes introduced are:
- An employee can make two flexible working requests in any 12 month period (increased from one per year).
- Employer’s now have two months to respond to a flexible working request (decreased from three months).
- Employer’s now need to consult with the employee before they refuse a request (previously no such requirement).
- An employee does not need to explain how a flexible working request might impact their employer (previously this had to be done).
One key change that was expected was to grant employees a day-one right to make a flexible working request. However, that has not carried forward to the act and no provisions are contained to allow for this. The government continue to say that their intention is to remove the need for employee’s to be continuously employed for 26 weeks before they can make a flexible working request, so we’ll have to keep an eye out on any further changes!
There are no changes to the eight statutory grounds for rejecting a flexible working application, so employers will need to continue to consider any potential rejections with these in mind.
Having a flexible working policy in place, which sets out what is required of both the employee and the employer can help you deal with requests. We’re happy to help put together, or update, a policy for you and / or help you navigate any flexible working requests you receive.
For more information or advice on this or any other Employment Law & HR issue, please get in touch with our Employment Law Associate & Solicitor, Laura Robinson on 0115 9 100 296, or send her an email.
Posted on August 2, 2023