A private member’s bill to amend the existing law for flexible working requests, first published in October 2022, has now gained government backing.
The changes would include:
making the right to request flexible working a “day one” right (there is currently a 26-week service requirement);
allowing employees to make two requests in any 12-month period (rather than the current one request);
reducing the decision period within which employers are required to respond to a request from three months to two months;
introducing a requirement for employers to consult with an employee before rejecting their request; and
removing the requirement that an employee must explain what effect the change would have on their employer and how that might be addressed.
The eight business reasons for refusing a statutory request would remain unchanged:
The burden of additional costs
2. An inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff
3. An inability to recruit additional staff
4. A detrimental impact on quality
5. A detrimental impact on performance
6. Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
7. Insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work
8. Planned structural changes to the business
No date has been announced.