Flexible Working Laws are Changing for British Businesses from 6 April

Does your business employ people? If the answer is ‘yes’, you will need to adjust how you handle flexible working requests from your employees. All employees have the legal right to request flexible working – not solely parents and carers.

Starting from 6 April 2024, employees will be entitled to make a statutory request for permanent changes to their contract from their first day of employment. This means that they can request alterations to their working hours, schedule, and location from day one of their employment.

Furthermore, employees will be permitted to make two requests within any twelve-month period, rather than just one as per the current regulations.

Additionally, you will be obliged to make a decision on the request within two months of its receipt, whereas currently, you have three months to respond.

If you find yourself unable to accept the request, you will need to engage in consultation with your employee.

The changes taking effect on 6 April will also eliminate the requirement for your employee to explain the potential impact of the flexible working request on your organisation and how any challenges could be addressed.

As an employer, you must handle these requests in a fair manner. You can only reject a request based on one of eight specified business reasons; you can review these reasons for rejecting a request here.

The Benefits of Flexible Working for Businesses The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) outlines some of the direct and indirect benefits of flexible working for both businesses and employees.

What is Flexible Working? Flexible working enables opportunities for work that suits the needs of both the employer and the employee. Options include, but are not limited to:

  • Job sharing
  • Remote working
  • Hybrid working
  • Part-time
  • Compressed hours
  • Flexitime
  • Annualised hours
  • Staggered hours
  • Predictable hours or set shift patterns
  • Phased retirement