Last December we published a blog on the government’s proposed changes to the law around flexible working requests by employees, which set out the current law and the changes the government intended (at that time) to introduce.
The resultant Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill has now completed its journey through parliament and the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 is currently awaiting Royal Assent.
Once the Act officially becomes law, the Secretary of State will pass secondary legislation specifying the date on which the changes will take effect.
What is changing?
In our above-referenced blog, we mentioned that the government’s stated intention at that time was to introduce a “day one” right to make a flexible working request – currently employees must have worked with an employer for 26 weeks or more to bring a request of this kind. This erstwhile proposal has not ultimately been incorporated into the Act.
Importantly for individuals considering making a flexible working request, there is still no obligation for employers to accept their request. Employers are still able to rely on the 8 statutory grounds for refusal, which are set out here.
These changes could well increase the number of flexible working requests employers will receive, once the Act becomes law, but may make little impact on the number of successful requests.
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