ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has published a new draft of its statutory Code of Practice on handling requests for flexible working. It has been re-drafted to reflect the anticipated reforms to the legislation in this area and is under consultation until 6 September 2023.
Changes to the flexible working legislation are expected to include allowing an employee to make two flexible working requests in any 12-month period, instead of the current one and to shorten the time for employers to respond to two months, instead of the current three. It is also expected that the right to request flexible working will be a day one right as currently only employees with at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment can make a request under the statutory scheme.
The draft legislation is currently making its way through parliament. ACAS are inviting comments on all aspects of the draft code, however there are a number of specific issues on which they wish to hear views which are set out in the link below:-
The Private Members’ Bill, the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill 2022 – 23 is expected to become law in due course as the government has already confirmed in its second reading that it would support this. The day one right is anticipated to be introduced by means of secondary legislation once the Bill is passed.
The contents of this article is a general guide only at the date of publication. It is not comprehensive and it does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be sought in relation to the particular facts of a given situation.
Why we are consulting The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) is currently legislating to reform the flexible working provisions set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996. In response to these changes, Acas is updating its statutory Code of Practice on handling in a reasonable manner requests to work flexibly.https://www.acas.org.uk/about-us/acas-consultations/code-of-practice-flexible-working-requests-2023