Be ready for the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill
Employees in the UK will have more flexibility over where and when they work as the Flexible Working Bill achieved Royal Assent in July. The new rules will likely come into effect in 2024. The main purpose of the Act is to allow employees to make flexible working requests more easily which could open up new work opportunities for lots of people, including carers and those with disabilities.
Key changes to the act that will affect employers are the following:
- Two flexible working requests can be made in any 12-month period (instead of one).
- Employers have two months to respond to a flexible working request (instead of three).
- There is now a requirement to consult with employees before refusing a flexible working request.
- The employee no longer has to explain the effects that flexible working may have on the employer and how these may be mitigated.
Flexible Working Bill
There is still ongoing debate about whether employees will have the right to request flexible working from day one, and whilst the government states that this is the case, there has been criticism that this is not explicitly stated in the bill. We will have to watch this space on any further amendments or case law to see if there are further developments but assume for now that employees still require 26 weeks service before they can make a flexible working request.
Flexible working covers a wide range of options and can relate to working hours or pattern including part-time, term-time, flexitime, compressed hours, or adjusting start and finish times. It can also include flexibility over where someone works, whether that be from home or a satellite office to shorten their commute.
The advantages of flexible working
As well as having a positive impact on employees, flexible working opportunities can have a positive effect on business. Research has shown that when employers implement flexible working effectively, they gain the benefits from increased talent and retention to improved performance. CIPD research shows that 6% (approx. 2 million employees) of employees changed jobs last year specifically due to a lack of flexible options and 12% (approx. 4 million employees) left their profession altogether due to a lack of flexibility within the sector.
Whilst the changes are not due to be implemented until 2024, we would advise employers to start adjusting internal policies to reflect these changes.
How Blossom HR can help
- By reviewing and refreshing policies to be in line with the new regulations when they come into effect.
- Providing advice on how to follow the new rules and regulations.
- Providing template letters and scripts for meetings.
- Talking through your specific case and advising on the best approach.
So, if you need some guidance or support in understanding and navigating the Flexible Working Bill please do get in touch…don’t forget we offer a complimentary 30 minute consultation.