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Amendments to flexible working legislation

From 6 April 2024, amendments to the current flexible working legislation will come into force. From this date, employees will be able to make a flexible working request from day one of their employment, rather than having to wait for the current 26 weeks. In addition, amongst other amendments, the employee will no longer be required to explain the effect that the requested change may have on the business and how that effect might be dealt with. Acas has published its draft Code of Practice on flexible working which is expected to come into effect in April 2024.

Flexible working comes in many shapes and sizes. For example, flexibility could be agreed in terms of the number of hours/days worked, start and finish times or the location from which the employee carries out their work. Since 2020, the way that we have worked has changed considerably and with a flexible working request becoming a day one right in April, it is likely that these changes are going to continue. Of course, the right to request flexible working does not entitle the employee to have their request granted, however, from 6 April an employer must consult with the employee and cannot refuse the request without doing so.

Something that regularly makes it to the headlines is whether or not employers can force employees to return to the office following an entirely remote or hybrid working arrangement being established since the pandemic. Whether an employer can insist on a return to the office full time will largely depend on the terms of the contract in place. However, even where there is no contractual right to work from home, asking employees to return to the office full time or change their working pattern could prompt an influx in flexible working requests which the employer will need to ensure are dealt with correctly.

A “one size fits all” approach to flexible working is unlikely to work and employers ought to give consideration as to whether insistence on full time office attendance in a competitive market could disrupt the workforce and result in loss of talent. Practically, it is advisable for employers to work with their employees to establish a working pattern that suits both parties.


If you require legal advice on how to manage a flexible working request, speak to a member of our employment team on 01689 887 887

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For expert advice on all matters regarding employment law and discrimination, and to ensure that your company's policies and practices are up to date, contact us.

Although correct at the time of publication, the contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Please contact us for the latest legal position.