Employment Law Legislation reforms 5 December 2022
Under new plans the Government will make flexible working (FW) the default, this will see millions of Employees able to request flexible working from day one of their employment as opposed to the current 26-week waiting period.
The announcement of the new measures will most certainly afford Employees more flexibility when, where, and how they work, this should lead to more productive individuals who in turn are more satisfied and happier. We know that during the pandemic a flexible approach was possible, let’s face it many businesses had no choice but to opt for it in their workplaces, much was learned during this time for many businesses, those that approached FW openly will undoubtedly manage the transition with ease for those that didn’t the transition now may be a little more problematic.
There is no doubt that FW provides Employees with a greater work-life balance and control in their home life, individuals all have commitments and for those who are in a position of supporting others or caring responsibilities, it is extremely beneficial. FW can offer Employers a much more agile, and diverse workforce, it can free up space, and improve finances.
It is important to note here that ‘Flexible Working’ can cover a multitude of combinations such as home/office, Hybrid models, job-sharing, working flexitime, compressed, annualised, or even staggered hours.
What are the new changes?
In line with the new measures the government is committing to in full will:
- Remove the current 26-week qualifying period before Employees can request flexible working, therefore the new measure will make it a day-one right
- The new measure will require you the Employer to consult with your Employees, the purpose of this will be to explore the available options, before rejecting a flexible working request
- The new measure will allow Employees to make 2 flexible working requests in any 12-month period
- The new measure will require you the Employer to respond to flexible working requests within 2 months, this is a reduction from the current 3 months
- The new measure will remove the requirement for Employees to set out how the effects/impact of their flexible working request might be dealt with by you the Employer
You can read the Government response to the Making Flexible Working The Default consultation.
As an Employer how should you deal with Flexible working requests?
We suggest you begin by reviewing your internal policies and procedures, you should update these, communicate with your teams, and if not done so already adopt flexible working in your workplace. As part of the new measures as an Employer, if you cannot accommodate a request to work on a flexible basis, you will be required to discuss alternative options before you can reject the request.
You should consider the points as part of the measures and factor these into your policies and procedures.
If you currently do not have flexible working in your workplace or think it impacts you, or take it seriously, we would urge you to do so.
What other measures are being introduced?
What are the changes to Exclusivity Clauses?
As part of the new measures announced by the Government, any Employees on Contracts of Employment with a guaranteed weekly income on or below the Lower Earnings Limit of £123.00 a week will now be protected from ‘exclusivity clauses’ being enforced against them, this means they may have a clause in their Contract of Employment, or you have a policy in place which may restrict them from working for multiple Employers.
It is anticipated by introducing the reforms will ensure around 1.5m low-paid Employees can benefit from the opportunities available to them by working for multiple Employers.
This may not be the ideal for all but for some, the ‘gig economy’, and carers may not be able to commit to one Employer or full-time role, this will offer flexibility and choice; the reform will also offer Employers wider access to recruit from a wider talent pool.
You can read the full Government response here: government response to the consultation on exclusivity clauses
How can we help?
We are experts dealing with any Employment Law matter, we can assist you with Flexible working requests, and policy writing and are happy to do so, you can contact one of our team today and we can assist you; contact us on: 0333 0069489 or email us on: [email protected]
This article contains a general overview of information only. It does not constitute, and should not be relied upon, as legal advice. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter.
HR and You Ltd, owns the copyright in this document. You must not use this document in any way that infringes the intellectual property rights in it. You may download and print this document which you may then use, for your own internal non-profit making purposes. However, under no circumstances are you permitted to use, copy, or reproduce this document with a view to profit or gain.
In addition, you must not sell or distribute this document to third parties who are not members of your organisation, whether for monetary payment or otherwise.
This document is intended to serve as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice. The application and impact of laws can vary widely based on the specific facts involved. This document should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a HR and You Ltd Consultant or a member of our legal team.
In no circumstances will HR and You Ltd, or any company within HR and You Ltd be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information contained within this document or for any consequential, special or similar damages, even if advised of the possibility of such damages.