It feels like we've had more new legislation that we can shake a stick at recently but it's awesome to see that the new Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 has been passed. Whilst it won't come into force until 2024, here's a quick round-up of what you need to know.
Why are we getting a new law?
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (the CIPD) recently campaigned to ensure that employees have the right to request flexible working from the first day of their employment, and not just after 26 weeks which is what the current law states. The CIPD's #ƒlexfrom1st campaign saw the CIPD lobby Government to make flexible working arrangements more equal. The Bill was sponsored by Yasmin Qureshi who said the Bill will ensure more people can access flexible working and act as a catalyst to address the barriers faced by women, the disabled, carers, and older people.
The new law will make four key changes to the way we do things now;
The new law will enable employees to make two flexible working requests in any 12-month period, and requires employers to respond to requests within two months of receiving them which is shorter than when employers have to respond by now.
Secondary legislation is also due to be passed which will mean that employees can make a flexible working request from their first day of employment, not just after 26 weeks, we're just waiting for this part to be enacted.
Employees will also no longer have to explain the impact that granting the request would have on their role and how that might be dealt with by the organisation. At the moment, when making a request employees have to include this information.
Managers will not be able to refuse a request until they have consulted with the staff member, although we would always recommend that organisations speak to their people when they make a request.
When are the changes happening?
The changes are expected next year, so most likely will come into force in April 2024.
What do I need to do?
Once the new law is in place, you'll need to make sure that your policies cover the four points above. If you have a flexible working policy in place it's most likely that you'll need to update it. There is nothing, however, stopping companies from getting ahead of the curve and putting the new rules in place sooner in anticipation of the change in the law.
If you have forms which employees can use to make flexible working requests you might want to update those as well to make sure they're compliant.
Where will the law apply?
The new law will apply to England, Scotland and Wales but not Northern Ireland.
Where can I get some more information about flexible working requests and the Act?
The CIPD have put together some really comprehensive information here: https://www.cipd.org/uk/views-and-insights/flex-from-1st/#:~:text=Celebrating%20the%20impact%20of%20%23Flexfrom1st&text=This%20means%20that%20millions%20of,Flexfrom1st%20campaign%20in%20February%202021.
Would you like to see if your HR is up to scratch? Take our free quiz.
Our quiz aims to give you some insight into how you're managing your HR practices and provide you with some free tips and pointers on what you can do to make your HR practices even better! After taking our quick quiz, you'll receive a personalised insights email to help you take action and supercharge your HR!
I want some HR Help from Tap HR ✅
We support your business with getting its HR foundations right, without stopping you from doing what you love. Get in contact for more details!
How do I get in contact?
Feel free to email us or book a free consultation.
Follow us on our social media platforms!
All information within this post is provided for guidance only, always seek your own legal advice
The information with this post was correct at the time of publishing, July 2023 but may be subject to change