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UK Government Introduces Day-One Right to Request Flexible Working

UK Government Introduces Day-One Right to Request Flexible Working
05 December 2022

Millions of employees across the country are set to benefit from new legislation that means flexible working can be requested from the first day of employment.

The consultation by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy received over 1,600 responses and concluded that flexible working requests should be a day-one right.

Previously, workers had to wait until they had completed 26 weeks of continuous service to have the legal right to request flexible working arrangements. The new rules will also allow two statutory requests in any 12-month period rather than the current one.

A new requirement will also ensure that employers consult with their employees when they intend to reject their flexible working request. Decision periods for statutory flexible working requests have also been reduced from three months to two.

The requirement that the employee must explain what effect, if any, the change applied for would have on the employer and how that effect might be dealt with has also been revoked.

Flexible working can constitute changes to working location, working hours or working pattern.


Creating Fairer, More Inclusive Workplaces


Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD called the change a step towards creating “fairer, more inclusive workplaces”. He said that “older workers, those with caring responsibilities and people with health conditions” are among those who will particularly benefit.

He continued: “This new right will help normalise conversations about flexibility at the start of the employment relationship, with significant benefits for employees in terms of wellbeing and work-life balance. Just as importantly, it will also enable organisations to attract and retain a more diverse workforce and help boost their productivity and agility.”

Noelle Murphy, Senior HR insights editor at XpertHR, noted that the changes would also benefit “Generation Z employees who value flexibility”.

She said: “There does remain some reticence around embracing flexible working across the board, so the changes around a day-one request for employees and a more timely response from the employer will at least serve to challenge remaining preconceptions around flexible working. And where requests are granted, employees will be more empowered and autonomous in how and when they work, and employers will reap the rewards in the widening of the recruitment pool.”

Picture: a photograph of a person holding a pen and writing in a notepad. Image Credit: Unsplash

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 05 December 2022


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