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Home / News / Flexible working legislation changes: What does it mean for you?
Flexible working legislation changes: What does it mean for you?
The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 has changed the way employees can request flexible working, and how employers must respond. Our Partner Lynsey Howes explains.
Flexible working arrangements have been in place for a number of years and allow an employee to request changes to their working hours.
Employers have been required to follow a process to analyse the request and refusals are restricted to certain statutory criteria.
The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 has made some changes to the request and the measures which need to be taken by the employee to make a valid request.
Those changes include:
Employees being permitted to make two flexible working requests in any 12 months period. Previously an employee could only make one request every 12 months.
Employers must deal with the request within two months of it being made, though the parties can agree to extend this period.
It is now compulsory for an employer to consult with the employee before they refuse a flexible working request. As yet there is no guidance on what will constitute consultation, but if normal principles are applied it will have to be meaningful discussion and not mere lip service.
Employees will not have to explain what impact they believe the request will have on the workplace and how it may be mitigated. This was a previous requirement under the old rules.
Employees will still need to have at least 26 weeks service before they can make a flexible working request. The recommendation that it should be a day one right did not make it into the legislation.