The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 received Royal Assent on 20 July 2023. As reported in our previous insight on this, the Act will make changes to the right to request flexible working so that:

  • employees will no longer have to explain what effect their requested change may have on the employer and how any such effect might be dealt with
  • employees will be entitled to make two requests (instead of one) in any 12-month period
  • employers will not be able to refuse a request unless the employee has been consulted
  • employers will have to make a decision in two months (reduced from three months), subject to agreeing a longer decision period.

The Act will not introduce a "day one" right to request flexible working (in place of the current requirement for 26 weeks' continuous employment to qualify for the right).

However, this change is now provided for in the Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023 (the Regulations), which were laid before Parliament on 11 December 2023. The Regulations mean that from 6 April 2024, employees will have the right to request flexible working from “day one” of their employment.

To date, no Regulations have been made to bring the Act into force, but it is anticipated that it will be enacted to take effect at the same time as the “day one” right on 6 April 2024.

Next steps

We recommend that employers review their contracts of employment and flexible working policies and procedures to ensure that they are compliant with the new flexible working rules. It is also important that employees, line managers and HR are aware of, and understand, the changes.

How Capsticks can help

Capsticks has significant experience in supporting employers to implement flexible working in the context of workforce planning, recruitment, retention, efficiency plans and maximising workforce flexibilities.

If you would like access to advice, training or need further guidance on flexible working (either generally or in relation to these changes or a specific case), please contact Anna Semprini, Raj Chahal or Saira Ramadan.