Changes to Flexible Working

legal updates

Unveil the new landscape of flexible working rights with the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023, now granting 'day-one' rights to employees and setting a precedent for more adaptable workplace practices effective from 6 April 2024.

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Effective 6 April 2024, the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 has introduced significant changes to employees’ rights to request flexible working arrangements. These changes aim to enhance accessibility to flexible working options, constituting a “day-one” right for employees. The Act received Royal Assent in July of the preceding year, alongside other family-friendly rights expansions.

Key Amendments in 2024

1. Day-One Right: The Act removes the prerequisite of 26 weeks’ continuous service for

    employees to formalise flexible working requests.

2. Increased Frequency: Employees can now submit two flexible working requests annually,  

    contrasting with the previous allowance of a single request.

3. Reduced Decision Time: Employers must now process flexible working requests within  

    two months, down from three, although an extension is permissible upon employee


4. Consultation Mandate: Employers must engage in consultation with employees before

    rejecting a request.

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5. No longer necessary to justify impact: The requirement for the employee to justify the

    impact of proposed changes to their work arrangements has been eliminated.

Guidance for Employers

1. ACAS Code of Practice: ACAS has developed a Code of Practice detailing the handling of

    flexible working requests –

2. Defining Flexible Working: Flexible working encompasses various arrangements tailored to

    meet both employee and employer needs, spanning part-time, hybrid, and remote work,

    among others.

3. Preparation Strategies: Employers should align existing policies with the law amendments,

    particularly regarding the newly introduced day-one entitlement. Training for managers  

   on the revised rights and expedited decision-making processes would be advisable.

4. Reasons for Refusal: Employers may decline requests based on legitimate business

    grounds, supported by substantive evidence.

5. Trial Periods: Offering trial periods facilitates the evaluation and adjustment of flexible

     working arrangements, promoting mutual understanding and effectiveness.

A decision to reject a request must be for one or more of the following business reasons which are set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996:

  • the burden of additional costs
  • an inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff
  • an inability to recruit additional staff
  • a detrimental impact on quality
  • a detrimental impact on performance
  • a detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demand
  • insufficient work available for the periods the employee proposes to work
  • planned structural changes to the employer’s business

If you have any queries about how these changes affect your business, please contact Lawgistics – 01480 455500 / [email protected]. We are here to assist you.

Kiril MoskovchukTrainee SolicitorRead More by this author

Related Legal Updates

New employment legislation effective from 6 April 2024

Enhanced employee rights, offering day-one entitlements to carer’s leave, flexible working arrangements, and extended redundancy protection for pregnant employees and those on family leave.

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Update on Rights to Flexible Working Requests

Employers will remain entitled to turn down a request pointing to reasonable grounds as a basis for refusal.

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