Changes in Rights to Flexible Working Requests

legal updates

The employer will have a duty to discuss alternative forms of flexible working as opposed to simply rejecting a request.

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On 5 December 2022, a government announcement stated that it proposes to remove the current 26 week qualifying period, giving employees a day one right to request flexible working.

Further, members of staff will be able to make two flexible working requests within any 12 month period. Employers will also be required to respond to a request within two months instead of the currently held three month requirement to respond.

It appears the process may be simplified for those requesting flexible working. However, employer reasons for rejecting a request will not change. Currently, the reasons for rejecting a flexible working request include:

  • too much additional cost regarding implementation
  • inability to reorganise work
  • negative effect on the quality and or performance of work
  • lack of work during the proposed flexible working hours

However, there will be a new employer duty, rather than a legal requirement at this time, to discuss and offer a compromise to the flexible working request. The employer will have a duty to discuss alternative forms of flexible working as opposed to simply rejecting a request.

Commentators and legal professionals have argued that a day one right to flexible working could prove disruptive in the workplace as well impracticable, particularly during an employee’s probationary period, where employers may find it easy to justify the lack of flexibility during an employee’s first months in a new role.

Although the day one right has been confirmed by the government, no date as yet has been set for its introduction.

We, at Lawgistics, will keep you informed as announcements progress.

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