Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill

05 December 2022

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has released its response to the consultation “Making Flexible Working the Default”.

The response will bring with it changes to the flexible working request system. The government will be making amendments to legislation to:

  • make the statutory flexible working requests a day one right
  • require employers to consult and explore options with an employee before denying a request
  • allow employees to make two requests in any 12-month period
  • require employers to respond within two months of receiving a request
  • remove the need for employees to set out the potential negative effects of the request and ways in which it can be dealt with.

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill is currently working its way through the legislative process.

Additionally, the government has committed to improving guidance to raise awareness of the changes and launch a call for evidence to understand how ad hoc flexible working requests work in practice.

These changes will encourage conversations around flexible working from the outset of an employment, with minimal changes required to day to day running and administration. Support for the proposals was seen across all respondent types (Businesses, individuals, representative bodies), indicating the benefits it can bring.

The list of business reasons to deny a flexible working request will not be expanded and will remain as it currently stands.

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