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Published On: April 24, 2024 | Blog | 0 comments

Update to the Flexible Working Policy 2024

The trend towards flexible working has not just continued; it has evolved into a more structured and legally supported framework within the UK. With the landscape of work-life balance undergoing significant changes, recent legislation and emerging trends highlight an ever-increasing shift towards flexibility in the workplace.


The Current State of Flexible Working

Recent findings indicate that 60% of employees now report having access to flexible working arrangements within their roles, marking a significant increase from the 51% reported in a previous survey by the CIPD from the last year.

Despite the accelerated adoption of homeworking during the pandemic, other forms of flexible working, such as job-sharing and compressed hours, have not seen a similar increase. This disparity emphasises the need for a continued focus on promoting various flexible working practices beyond just homeworking.

As well as bringing benefits to workers, research shows that companies that embrace flexible working can attract more talent, improve staff motivation, and reduce staff turnover. Much of it is due to employees having a greater say over “when, where and how they work.”

It is clear by the changes that are being implemented that employees will be given more control over their working week. However, this change is envisaged to positively affect employers too.

Business and Trade Minister Kevin Hollinrake stated that “it makes good business sense too, helping firms attract more talent, increase retention and improve workforce diversity.”

It is clear that a happier workforce will result in better quality input from employees, therefore promoting a more balanced business environment for all.

Many studies have shown that managers have a more positive view on flexible working than might have been seen pre-pandemic, with most studies citing improved productivity and motivation as some of the key benefits of adopting this flexible approach.

Changes in Legislation

On 20 July 2023, the Employment Relations (Flexible working) bill received Royal Assent from the House of Lords. The new bill will implement a collection of changes to the current legislation on flexible working under the Employment Rights Act 1996.

From 6 April 2024, all employees have the right to request flexible working arrangements from their very first day of employment, a notable shift from the previous 26-week waiting period. This legislative change highlights the government’s commitment to fostering a more adaptable and inclusive working environment for everyone.

Other key updates include:

  • Increased Requests: Employees can now make two flexible working requests within any 12-month period, doubling the previous allowance and providing greater flexibility.
  • Quicker Responses: Employers are required to respond to flexible working requests within two months, improving from the previous three months, thereby speeding up the process.
  • Simplified Process: The requirement for employees to explain the impact of their flexible working request on the business has been removed, making the process more straightforward.
  • Mandatory Consultation: Before rejecting a flexible working request, employers must now consult with the employee, ensuring a more collaborative decision-making process which was previously just good practice.

These changes are anticipated to not only enhance work-life balance but also to support business agility by offering more flexible options regarding when and where work can be performed. This will also allow for employees to feel more listened to and supported when making those flexible working requests in the workplace.

If you are unsure how to make a request for flexible working or how to deal with receipt of such a request, do not hesitate to contact our expert Employment Law team on 020 7940 3907 or who will gladly assist you further.

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

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