Flexible Working
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Flexible Working became a day 1 right from 6th April 2024

Starting from April 6, 2024, significant changes have been introduced to facilitate better dialogue and agreement between employees and employers regarding flexible working patterns. These changes are part of the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023, which aims to create a more accommodating and understanding work environment.

  • Give employees a ‘day one’ right to make a flexible working request. Currently an employee must have 26 weeks of service;
  • Give employees the right to make 2 (rather than 1) flexible working requests in any 12- month period;
  • no longer require employees to explain what effect the requested change could have on the employer nor provide potential solutions for dealing with those effects;
  • require employers to consult with the employee in order to explore available options before deciding on the outcome of the request; and require employers to respond to a request within two months (rather than 3).
  • This is still a right to request flexible working and not a right to have flexible working so employers can still turn down requests that they are unable to accommodate.
Implications for employers

Employers need to be prepared for an increase in flexible working requests and should develop clear, fair, and consistent procedures for handling these requests. Training for managers on how to conduct effective consultations and assess requests objectively will be crucial. Additionally, employers may need to consider more innovative and flexible working models to meet the diverse needs of their workforce while maintaining productivity and service levels.

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 represents a progressive step towards a more flexible and inclusive work environment. By understanding and implementing these new measures, both employees and employers can work together to create a balanced and productive workplace that meets the evolving needs of the modern workforce. It is crucial for all parties to remain open, communicative, and adaptable to ensure the successful integration of flexible working arrangements.

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