New UK Legislation Empowers Employees with Flexible Working Options from Day One

25 March 2024 | HR & Employment

New UK Legislation Empowers Employees with Flexible Working Options from Day One

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In April 2024, the government is making the process of requesting to work flexibly much simpler and easier for employees.

Your current right as an employee

Employees who have continuously worked for their employer for 26 weeks or more can make a request to work flexibly. Flexible working can refer to a change to working patterns or hours of work, including part time, flexi-time, term time, compressed hours and adjusting start and finish times, as well as location; for example, working from home.

The request must be in writing; be dated; state that the application is made under the statutory flexible working procedure; set out the changes requested; explain what effect, if any, the employee believes the changes will have on the employer; and say whether the employee has previously made a flexible working application.

An employer can reject the request for any one (or more) of the eight.

An employee can only make one request in any 12 month period, and the employer has three months in which to consider that request.

What new rules will apply to Flexible Working applications from 06 April 2024?

From 6 April 2024, there’s going to be a big change to the rights around flexible working applications.  The first big change is that the 26 weeks’ service requirement will be scrapped, so the right will become a ‘day one’ right.

Next, if an employee makes a request, the employer will be required to consult with the employee and explore any alternatives before rejecting a request.

In addition, employees won’t need to explain how they think the request will effect an employer.

The time an employer has to consider an application is going to be reduced from three months, to two, and an employee will be able to make two requests in any 12 month period, rather than just the one.

These changes give employees a much better chance at succeeding in making a flexible working request and if they don’t succeed, achieving an alternative that better suits their situation. It also makes it harder for employers to ignore employee’s needs for change if they have other responsibilities they need to factor into their working life.

What Should Employers do?

All employers need to review their current employment policies to ensure they incorporate the upcoming changes.  They should also train managers to make sure they’re up to speed on the new regime.

 

Atkins Dellow help clients all over the UK with matters relating to Employment Law. Our team are experts in helping our clients figure out what their options are and how best to protect employees and employers from potential risk. For more information about the firm, call us today on 0330 912 8338.

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Please note this article is provided for general information purposes only to clients and friends of Atkins Dellow LLP. It is not intended to impart legal advice on any matter. Specialist advice should be taken in relation to specific circumstances. Whilst we endeavour to ensure that the information in this article is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy, and Atkins Dellow LLP does not accept any liability for error or omission.

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