The Government have been consulting on making changes to the flexible working rights for employees and we are awaiting the final outcomes of this in the next few months. If the changes are implemented, it could mean that:
- The 26-week qualifying period before employees can request flexible working is removed, making it a day-one right for employees to request and for this to be considered;
- Employers will be required to consult with their employees, as a means of exploring the available options, before rejecting a flexible working request;
- Employers will need to allow employees to make two flexible working requests in any 12-month period;
- Employers will need to respond to requests for flexible working within two months, down from three; and
- They may remove the requirement for employees to set out how the effects of their flexible working request might be dealt with by their employer.
Taking all of the above into account, what can you do now to prepare yourselves for the potential changes? You could sit tight and wait for this to happen, or you could be on the front foot and offer this as a minimum in your organisation. This would put you on the front foot and show that you are considerate of employees who have other responsibilities outside of the work they do. If it does become a legal requirement, you will need to make changes to your policies and procedures on flexible working in any case.
If you need support with re-wording or putting in place a flexible working policy, please do get in touch here.