How will the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 impact businesses?

It appears that there have been many changes to employment law over the past few years, but the most recent addition of the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 is not unexpected.

While the legislation doesn’t come into effect until April 2024 across England, Wales and Scotland, we thought it’d be handy to provide you with a brief overview of what changes are coming, what you should be aware of and how to prepare for them.

Why is this new law being introduced?

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) recently championed the bill that was sponsored by Yasmin Qureshi, who stated that it will extend flexible working access to more individuals and help break down barriers faced by women, people with disabilities, caregivers, and older individuals.

What’s changing under the new law?

The new law will introduce four significant changes to our current practices:

  1. Employees will have the opportunity to submit two flexible working requests within any 12-month period, and employers will be required to respond within two months, a shorter timeframe than the current requirement.
  2. Additional legislation is expected to be enacted, allowing employees to make flexible working requests right from their first day of employment, rather than waiting for 26 weeks. Please note that this has not been confirmed.
  3. Employees will no longer be obliged to explain how granting their request might affect their role and how the organisation might address this impact. Currently, employees are required to provide this information when making a request.
  4. Employers cannot reject a request until they have consulted with their employee, although it’s advisable for organisations to engage with their employees when requests are made.

When will these changes be implemented?

These changes are likely to be effective from April 2024.

What actions do you need to take?

Once the new law is in effect, it will be essential to ensure that your company policies incorporate these four points. If you already have a flexible working policy in place, you will likely need to revise it. However, there is no hindrance to companies proactively adopting the new rules in advance of the legal change.

If you have forms that employees use to submit flexible working requests, you may also need to update them to ensure compliance.

Please note that all of our HR retainer (Advice/Core/Support) clients will receive automatic updates to their documents.

If you would like further advice or support, we are here to hep. Contact Natalie or Faye on 01327 640070 or email hello@reboxhr.co.uk.

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Contact Rebox HR on 01327 640070 or email Hello@reboxhr.co.uk

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