This wintery morning I thought I’d give you a heads-up on flexible working requests- there are big changes afoot. The Government has published its response to a consultation on updating flexible working laws and there are some key points to note.
Currently, flexible working requests can only be made by employees with more than 26 weeks’ continuous service, only one request can be made within a 12-month period and employees are required to explain how the effects of their flexible working request might impact on you, the employer. Employers are required to give their response within three months.
So, what’s proposed?
The proposals are:
- that the right to request flexible working should be a Day One right (i.e. from day one of employment);
- that employees be allowed to make two requests in a 12-month period;
- that the employer will have two months, not three, in which to give a response;
- that employees will no longer have to explain how the effects of their request might impact on their employer; and
- that there will be a new duty on the employer to discuss alternatives to the request, i.e. if you intend to reject the request, you will need to discuss whether there are alternative forms of flexible working available).
There are no proposed changes to the eight reasons the employer has available to them to refuse a request for flexible working.
It’s a good question, i.e. when can we expect to see some or all of these changes coming into effect?
Certainly, the changes allowing two requests in a twelve-month period and for the decision time to be reduced to two months look likely to be happening sooner rather than later. We’ll need to watch this space for any decisions on the other proposed changes.
If you have any questions about the changes or how to make a success of flexible working in your team give us a call!