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.