Changes to flexible working rules finalised

The Employee Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 has completed its passage through Parliament and is awaiting Royal Assent.

In February we reported on potential changes to the flexible working regime: Rules on flexible working requests set for overhaul. The Employee Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 is now ready to receive Royal Assent, which is when the King will formally agree to make the legislation law.  The confirmed changes are:

  • Employees will be able to make two flexible working requests in any 12 month period.
  • Requests have to be dealt-with by employers within two months of receipt of a request if no extension is agreed.
  • Employers are not able to refuse a request until they have ‘consulted’ with the employee.
  • Employees will no longer have to explain what effect the employee thinks agreeing to the request would have and how any such effect might be dealt with.

We recommend that employers review their flexible working request procedure to ensure they are prepared to implement changes, most notably that they are prepared to respond to requests within the reduced timeframe of two months and that they are prepared to discuss alternative flexible working arrangements with employees before declining a request.  We will provide a further update once the date upon which the changes will take effect has been confirmed.

If you have any questions or queries on the above proposed changes, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the employment & HR team.