Flexible Working Bill passed: What does it mean for employers?

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill had its third reading in the House of Lords recently, meaning it’s one step closer to passing and becoming law.

But what is the Flexible Working Bill? And what changes does it propose for employers?

Employment Solicitor Chris Dobbs answers these questions and more in his latest article.

What is the Flexible Working Bill 2023?

The Flexible Working Bill is set to provide employees with greater rights in regards to flexible working, allowing them to request changes to their work arrangements from the first day of their employment.

These requested changes can include amendments to working hours, where you work (for example, in which office location) and home-working arrangements.

Previously, employees have only had the legal right to suggest such changes six months into their employment.

Related: New family friendly rights become law

Can you refuse a flexible working request?

An additional change, under the bill, means that businesses will be legally required to consult with employees before rejecting any flexible working request.

In practice, many businesses were complying with their obligation to “reasonably consider” the request by discussing it with the employee anyway and not doing so was likely to result in accusations of not reasonably considering the request.

Managers will have to respond to such requests within two months, a reduction from the current three-month period.

How does the flexible working bill affect employers?

The effect on employers is likely to be limited as this Bill only makes changes to existing legislation. The right is for workers to make a request and have it properly considered not to have the proposals implemented.

The two big changes which employers will need to be aware of is the requirement to consult with the employee and the changes to the request itself, in particular that the employee no longer has to explain the effects of their proposed changes on the business.

The reasons for rejecting have not changed.

Click here to read the full article.

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