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Government to Consult on Proposals to Introduce Day-One Right for Employees to Request Flexible Working

Government to Consult on Proposals to Introduce Day-One Right for Employees to Request Flexible Working

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will shortly be publishing its consultation on extending the right to request flexible working to all employees, removing the current requirement for 26 weeks' service before doing so.

This proposal was part of the Conservative party's 2019 manifesto but the introduction of the "day one" right was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   If introduced it will allow employees to request flexibility from the outset of their employment, which will assist many more employees to better juggle work and personal life.

Currently, only those with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service can request flexible working, which means asking for a change to terms and conditions in relation to:

  • The hours worked
  • The times they are required to work
  • The place of work (for example, as between the employer’s various workplaces, to working from home)

The proposed removal of the qualifying service period will not, however, change the nature of the right to request flexible working – it remains only a right to request, and so will not confer an automatic right on employees to work flexibly. Employers will retain the discretion on whether to grant flexible working requests.

It is also anticipated that the proposals will speed up the process (an employer can currently take up to three months to make its decision) and also oblige the employer to give more detail when refusing a request.

For more information or advice on flexible working, please contact our employment team.

Written by : John Norrie