15th September 2023
Under current legislation, employees who have at least 26 weeks of continuous service have the right to request a change to their working hours and/or working location under the Employment Rights Act 1996. The Act also states that employees can only make one flexible working request in any twelve-month period and must include in their applications what effect they believe their request will have on the employer. However, upcoming changes plan to amend the act with the aim to give employees more flexibility and variation when it comes to the terms and conditions of their employment.
The current rights regarding flexible working will be affected in the following ways:
Overall, the changes within the act aim to prioritise allowing employees and employers to explore the available options within the right conditions, as not everyone’s approach to flexible working is the same.
As an employer, is important to be aware of these changes as your employees retain the right to complain to an employment tribunal if their employer has failed to follow procedures. Therefore, employers need to take all reasonable steps to avoid the potential risk of discrimination when considering flexible working requests. You can find out more about discrimination and changes in office working compared with working from home here.
The right to request flexible working accommodations from day 1 may be a significant change for some employers, but after the fallout of the pandemic, flexible working continues to be considered the norm and is often advertised as an employee benefit, increasing the competition between businesses.
The timetable for this change is unknown but the government hopes that this will ease the pressure on the economy and in turn, will increase the amount of people coming into the workforce.
Our legal experts are here to help you adjust/respond to the new changes put in place and support you in tackling the risks surrounding flexible working and discrimination. For further information, please contact Sarah Everton, Head of Employment Law on 01782 525012 or email email@example.com.