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Flexible working requests will become a day one right from 6 April 2024

Currently an employee needs 26 weeks’ service to make a flexible working request; however new regulations laid before parliament confirm this will become a day one right from 6 April next year. From the same date, enhanced redundancy protections for parents and a new right to carer’s leave will also come into force.

Currently an employee needs 26 weeks’ service to make a flexible working request; however new regulations laid before parliament confirm this will become a day one right from 6 April next year. From the same date, enhanced redundancy protections for parents and a new right to carer’s leave will also come into force.

The “day one” right will take effect for any flexible working requests made on or after 6 April 2024.

This is a right to request flexible working and not a “right to have” flexible working – employers can still turn down requests they can’t accommodate.

With new starters being able to make a request, employers may want to consider possible flexible working options when designing and creating new roles and how these might (or might not) work in practice (depending on business needs) so that you’re ready to consider and respond to any early requests that are made.

There is no current legal duty on employers to set out in job adverts whether or not the role is suitable for flexible working; however, there is nothing preventing employers from doing so if they wish. If the job can be done flexibly, being open in the recruitment process may prevent the need for a day one flexible working request.

Further changes to the flexible working regime are also expected next year, including: –

  • an increase to the number of flexible working requests an employee can make in a year from one to two; and
  • a reduction to the length of time an employer has to respond to the request from three to two months (including hearing any appeal).

The eight statutory business reasons for refusing a flexible working request will remain unchanged.

Source: Lexology

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