New Flexible Working Laws to Come into Effect in April

23 Feb

The government has announced that the new Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations will come into effect on the 6th of April 2024.

The new Regulations build on the existing Flexible Working Bill and will mean employees will now be entitled to request flexible working arrangements from day one of their employment. This includes requests for part-time, term-time, flexitime, compressed hours, and varied working locations.

The new legislation is intended to make employees feel empowered within their organisations and is seen as a key tool for improving employee well-being, work-life balance, engagement and productivity.

There are several changes for employers and employees to consider:  

Key changes for employers include: 

  • Employers are now obliged to respond to requests within two months, compared to three previously.

Key changes for employees include: 

  • Employees will be able to make two flexible working requests in a 12-month period compared to just one.
  • Employees no longer need to explain what effects they feel making any requested changes would have on their company.

As before, employers don’t have to accept every request they receive. However, they must speak to the employee who requested denying or accepting it, explaining the reasons behind the decision.

If a request is denied, it will still have to be for one or more of the following eight reasons:

  • The burden of additional costs.
  • Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand.
  • Inability to reorganise work among existing staff.
  • Inability to recruit additional staff.
  • Detrimental impact on quality.
  • Detrimental impact on performance.
  • Insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work.
  • Planned structural changes.

For further information, please get in touch with one of our specialist employment lawyers