Employment Law Update – The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act

News Posted: September 22, 2023

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act has passed through Parliament and was given Royal Assent on 20 July 2023.

The changes that it will bring are set to include:

  • The right for employees to be able to make two flexible working requests in any 12 month period (as opposed to the current one request).
  • The requirement that requests are dealt with by employers within 2 months of receipt if no extension is agreed.
  • The requirement that employers are to consult with the employee before they can refuse an application.
  • The removal of the existing requirement that employees explain what effect, if any, they think making the change applied for would have on their employer and how that effect might be dealt with.

Alongside the measures above, workers will be given the right to request flexible working from day one of a new job under secondary legislation.

However, there are a few points that will not be changing, which are as follows:

  • The Act does not allow a route of appeal for the employee if their request is rejected. The offer of this right had been recommended by ACAS but has not been included as a requirement.
  • The Act does not provide a requirement that the consultation between the employer and employee is substantive and meaningful or provide examples of options available.

The measures in the Act will be supported by a statutory Code of Practice which is being developed by ACAS.

In the Government’s press release on 20 July 2023, they note that they expect the measures in the Act and secondary legislation to come into force approximately a year after Royal Assent.

Employers will need to be aware of the changes and consider the impact that the Act will have on their business. In particular, employers will need to make sure that their policies and procedures are updated in readiness.

For further information on the above update or any employment related matter, please contact Hatchers Solicitors’ Employment Law Team on 01743 248545 or mail@hatchers.co.uk

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