The private members conferring new rights for flexible work on employees has now received royal assent. It provides the following changes to the current flexible work regime:
Employees will now be able to make two flexible working requests in any 12 month period.
Requests have to be dealt-with by employers within 2 months of receipt.
Employers are not able to refuse a request until they have ‘consulted’ with the employee.
Employees will no longer have to explain what effect they think agreeing to the request would have and how any such effect might be dealt with.
The Bill does not change the requirement that employees must have 26 weeks service before they are able to make a request, although there remains speculation that this might be changed to a “day one” right through secondary legislation. There is also no minimum standard of consultation, which suggests that consultation need not be substantive or cover all the options available.
The Act is likely to come in to force at some point in 2024.