Scene set for changes to flexible working in the UK

31 July 2023 | Applicable law: England and Wales | 1 minute read

We reported on the Government's intention to reform the law on flexible working in December 2022.  

A new law enabling the changes, the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 (the 'Act'), received Royal Assent on 20 July. When section 1 of the Act comes into force, which is expected to be in about one year's time, the current law will change so that:

  • an employee making a request will no longer have to explain what effect they think their requested change would have on the employer and how any such effect might be dealt with;
  • an employee will be entitled to make two requests in any 12-month period rather than one as at present;
  • an employer will not be permitted to refuse a request without consulting the employee first;
  • the time for an employer to make a decision will be reduced to two months rather than three  (although the employer and employee will be able to agree a longer period).

The Government has continued to state that the right to request flexible working will become a 'day one' right. The Act does not itself provide for this, but it is expected that there will be regulations providing for the abolition of the current 26-week service requirement in a year's time, alongside regulations providing the details of the changes outlined above.

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.


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