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Flexible working changes: Outcome of Government consultation
Last year, the Government commissioned a consulation into updating the laws surrounding flexible working. A series of changes are now expected to come into force.
Last year, the Government commissioned a consultation into updating the laws surrounding flexible working.
In December, the Government responded to the results of the consultation, and made the following statements:
Currently an employee must have been employed for 26 weeks before they can make a request for flexible working. This will now become a day one right.
Flexible working regulations currently permit one flexible working request every 12 months. This will be increased to two requests in each 12 months period.
An Employer will now be required to respond to any such flexible working request within two months, down from the previous three months. This means that requests will now be dealt with more quickly.
A new duty to discuss alternatives to the request will be required were the employer intends to reject the flexible working request made by the employee. This means that if the employer cannot accommodate the original request, but can offer a different form of flexible working, this must be discussed with the individual.
Under the current Flexible Working Regulations, an employee must explain the impact that they believe the change may have on the employer. This requirement will be removed. The idea is that this will simplify the process for the employee. The other requirements have not been commented on and it is assumed that they will remain the same.
The eight reasons employers can reject a flexible working request will remain without change.
In order for these changes to come into effect, there will need to be formal legislation passed by Parliament.
A Private Members Bill is in existence and it is expected that the Government will support it.
We will keep you informed as soon as these changes are made law.