We supported SHL to run a compliant collective consultation process, following the need to...
Last month we reported on a Private Members Bill to increase flexible working rights receiving government support. Since then, government has confirmed the proposals it will definitely be taking forward.
The amended and new legislation will change a number of aspects of current flexible working rights:
1.Day one right – currently employees must accrue 26 weeks’ service before they can make a statutory request to work flexibly. This will change so that it is a right available from day one of employment.
2.Consultation – the Acas Code of Practice will set out a meaningful consultation process that employers must follow, including considering alternatives before it refuses a flexible working request.
3.Two requests – currently employees can only make one request in every 12 months, this will change to two requests every 12 months.
4.Two months – employers will have to deal with flexible working requests within 2 months, a reduction from the current 3 months, or a longer period if the parties agree.
5.No need for employee to explain effect – currently when an employee submits a flexible working request, they’re required to include what impact their proposal will have on the employer and how this might be ameliorated. This requirement will be removed, with the onus instead being on employers to have a two way discussion with the employee to understand the impact of their request.
There is no date yet of when these changes will come into force, so for now, employers don’t need to amend their policies or alter the way they currently deal with flexible working requests.
Making the right to request flexible working a day one right requires secondary legislation, and government has said this will be addressed when Parliamentary time allows.
Changes 2 to 5 will all require primary legislation, and are captured in the Private Members Bill which is due its third reading on 24 February 2022.