20 July 2023

The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) has opened the new consultation ‘Call for evidence: non-statutory flexible working’, on 20 July 2023. This call for evidence seeks views from individuals and businesses on their experiences of non-statutory flexible working, including how it operates in practice.

Flexible working is a change to an employee’s working hours, location or pattern. For many people, after pay, access to flexible working is the key thing that they look for from an employer. Flexible working is a broad term. It can relate to working hours or pattern: part-time, term-time, flexi-time, compressed hours, or adjusting start and finish times. It can also include flexibility over where someone works.

Arrangements for flexible working can be agreed between employers and employees on a contractual or non-contractual basis. Employees may ask for flexible working through the statutory right to request, or an informal non-statutory route – for example a discussion with their manager. Informal flexible working can benefit individuals and businesses alike. The DBT want to explore this further through this call for evidence. The open consultation is seeking views from individuals and businesses on their experiences of non-statutory flexible working and how it operates in practice.

The call for evidence is fragmented in three sections:

  • the first section focuses on “ad hoc” arrangements. It includes questions on how and why individuals use this type of workplace flexibility, as well as questions about access and barriers to take-up. This section also contains questions for employers on whether, how and for what reasons they provide this type of flexibility
  • the second section focuses on “regular” arrangements. It includes questions on whether and what arrangements employers offer and how and on what basis they are agreed
  • the third section considers organisational approaches to non-statutory flexible working (which may be set out in a contract or be less formal), and includes questions on policies, supporting managers and monitoring and evaluation.

This call for evidence follows commitments made in the government response to the consultation making flexible working the default and the Chancellor’s Spring Budget statement. Both documents acknowledged the importance of non-statutory flexible working in helping people to participate in the labour market and the need to develop evidence base in this area.

Responses received will help to develop the government’s evidence base on non-statutory flexible working and inform the flexible working strategy moving forwards. You can respond on behalf of an organisation or as an individual. The easiest way to participate in this call for evidence is by completing the online survey. This consultation closes on 7 November 2023.

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