Are the Flexible Working Regulations about to become more flexible?

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill 2022-23 continues to progress through Parliament and entered the Report stage of the House of Commons on 24 February 2023.

Under the current scheme (Employment Rights Act, Part VIIIA) employees with 26 or more weeks of continuous service are entitled to request a change in working hours, times worked, or location, and that the request must be considered and responded to by their Employer within a three-month period. Only one such request may be made within a 12-month period and responsibility is placed upon the employee to outline the effect their request may have on the Employer and to make suggestions as to how such an effect can be addressed.

So what does the new Bill seek to change:

  • remove the requirement for employees to explain in their applications what effect they think it will have on the employer;
  • allow employees to make two flexible working requests in a 12-month period;
  • require employers to consult with the employee before being allowed to refuse an application;
  • reduce the deadline for an employer decision on flexible working requests to two months.

 

The Bill would apply to England, Scotland and Wales but not Northern Ireland where employment law is a devolved matter.