The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill received royal assent on Thursday 20 July 2023
The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill received royal assent on Thursday 20 July 2023, meaning it becomes the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023.
It is expected that the measures in the Act, together with any secondary legislation, will come into force in a year’s time, therefore, allowing Employers sufficient time to prepare for the changes. In addition, and in response to the legislation, Acas will be updating its statutory Code of Practice (following a consultation launched on 12 July).
In our article we take a look at the changes, how it will impact you the Employer, and what steps you should take in your workplace.
What will be the changes?
The Act will bring the following changes to the current statutory flexible working regime (once in force):
- Employees will be able to make two statutory requests in any 12-month period (currently only one request)
- Reduced waiting times for decisions to be made (within which you as the Employer administers the statutory request) from 3 months to 2 months
- As an Employer you will be required to consult with the Employee before rejecting their flexible working request
- removal of the requirement for employees to set out what the effect of their flexible working request might be, and how that effect might be dealt with
As mentioned, there is to be secondary legislation, this will cover a flexible working becoming a day 1 right as opposed to an employee needing to have at least 26 weeks’ service. The Government has confirmed that it will introduce this change, it is not covered by the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023, we have no further details but will keep you updated.
You can find full details of the Government’s publication here.
When will the changes take place?
It is expected that the measures in the Act (Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023), together with any secondary legislation, will come into force in a year’s time, this will be to provide Employers time to prepare for the change.
The Act will be supported by a statutory Code of Practice which is to be delivered by Acas and is currently under consultation. The aim of the Code is to provide you as the Employer, your Employees, and representatives with a clear explanation of the law on the statutory right to request flexible working, alongside good practice advice on handling requests in a reasonable manner.
As an Employer what should I do?
As the Act (and any secondary legislation) will be in force in a years’ time as an Employer you have the necessary timescale to be prepared in your workplace.
We would suggest that plans/preparations are adopted now to update and implement your Flexible Working policies in line with the Act an any secondary legislation.
It is worth noting that whilst updating policies to consider changes to other relevant polices, such as hybrid, and remote working.
While this article has given you a brief overview, it is impossible to cover every aspect in a single article, it is our aim to bring you the most up to date, relevant guidance in relation to the changes.
How can we help you?
If you would like support HR and You Ltd are experienced in our understanding of HR and Employment Law and would be happy to help your business. Do not hesitate to contact us via email, [email protected], or phone, 0333 006 9489, for a no obligation chat to find out whether our services are right for you.
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