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The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 was supposed to make requesting flexible working a day one right. We’ve just heard that’s now not the case (yet).

Employees will still need to have 26 weeks’ service before they’re able to make a request. However, the Act does bring in several changes to how you manage requests.

What’s changing?

  • Employees can make two flexible working requests each year (instead of just one);
  • You have to deal with requests within two months (instead of three);
  • You need to ‘consult’ with employees before refusing a request – unhelpfully, no definition of consultation has been provided at this stage;
  • When making a request, employees are no longer required to explain how any challenges resulting from their proposed flexible working arrangement should be dealt with.

What’s not changing?

  • Employees still need 26 weeks’ service before making a flexible working request. However, we expect the day-one right to come at a later stage through secondary legislation;
  • The Act won’t introduce a legal right to appeal if a request is rejected (although ACAS recommend doing so in their Code of Practice on handling flexible working requests).
Get in touch if you need to chat through how these changes will impact your policies and processes. 
This update is accurate on the date it was published, but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.