New government plans reveal changes to flexible working

BrightHR breaks down new government plans to change flexible working rules for UK workers. Read more in our in-depth guide.

Tuesday, Dec 06, 2022
2 min read

Flexible working can be requested from day one of a new job, under new government plans. Discover what else is set to change in our detailed guide…

The government has confirmed the changes it will make to the current right to request flexible working laws, by responding to a consultation that was launched last year. Let’s find out what’s set to change…

Change #1

The right to request will apply from day one of employment, so employees will no longer have to wait 26 weeks to request flexible working.

Change #2

Employers will need to consult with the employee when they plan to reject their flexible working request. This means discussing alternative arrangements. **

For example, if an employee wants to change their hours every day and the employer doesn’t think this will work, they should discuss whether hours can be changed on some of the days instead.

Change #3

Two statutory requests for flexible working will be allowed in any 12-month period. Currently, employees are only entitled to one statutory request every 12 months.

Change #4

Employers will need to decide on a flexible working request within two months. This reduces the current period from three months.

Change #5

Employees will no longer have to explain what effect, if any, a flexible working change would have on the employer and how that effect might be dealt with. Currently, this information is required as part of the statutory request.

What is not changing?

The eight reasons to refuse a request will not change. The government consultation asked whether this list should be changed, and the government has decided to keep it as it is.

When is this all happening?

There’s no clear timeline at the moment.

However, there is currently a Private Member’s Bill on changing the flexible working system going through parliament which covers most of these points, and it’s coming up for its next reading on Wednesday 7th December.

We imagine the changes will match up with the progression of this Bill and there are still some procedural steps to go yet.

What do these changes mean for my business?

You’ll need to update your written flexible working policies and change your procedures to make sure they comply with these new rules.

This includes reviewing any flexible working request letters that you send to employees. You'll also need to change any timelines that you currently use to decide on flexible working requests, as these will need to be done sooner.

And while there’s no date yet for when the changes will come into effect, you should start preparing your business now.

How can I prepare my business for new flexible working rules?

Speak to your BrightAdvice team today on 0844 728 0180.

Our expert employment law specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your flexible working questions. Plus, as BrightAdvice is unlimited, you can call as many times as you like in the run up to the new flexible working rules.

Not a BrightAdvice customer? Discover more about our expert advice line.

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