Flexible Working - what changed?

The law regarding the right to request flexible working arrangements changed on 30th June 2014.

How it changed

All employees who have worked for an employer for more than 26 weeks now have the right to request flexible working arrangements.

This right previously only applied to employees if they were parents with children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and certain carers.

Flexible working can include part-time working, flexitime, job sharing, shift working or working elsewhere such as home-working.

What is required by law?

The law requires a set of procedures to be followed when making and considering requests for flexible working.

In summary:

• The employee must make the request in writing. They must state the date of the request and whether any previous application has been made and if so, the date of that application. Employees are only allowed to make one request in any 12 month period

• The employer must ensure that requests and appeals are considered and decided upon within three months of the receipt of the employee’s request

• Requests for flexible working can be turned down. Employers must have a sound business reason for rejecting any request. Valid reasons would include an inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff or a detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demand.

Acas guidelines

Acas has produced a Code of Practice and helpful guidance notes to help employers understand the changes and how to handle requests correctly and reasonably.

You can find the new Flexible Working Code of Practice and Acas guidance here.

Acas has also produced new guidance notes regarding home-working to coincide with the launch of the new Flexible Working regulations.

Click here to view Acas homeworking guidance

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