Skip to main content

As the modern workforce continues to evolve, so too do the expectations around flexibility in the workplace. With the expansion of the right to request flexible working arrangements, employers are faced with the challenge of navigating legal obligations while meeting the changing needs of their employees. In this blog post, we explore the implications of the updated regulations on flexible working and provide practical guidance for employers to effectively manage flexible working requests, assess business needs, and ensure compliance with the law.


Understanding the Right to Request Flexible Working


The right to request flexible working has undergone significant expansion in recent years, reflecting a broader societal shift towards accommodating diverse work arrangements. Originally introduced to address the needs of parents and caregivers, the right to request flexible working now extends to all employees with at least 26 weeks of continuous service.


Key Legal Considerations for Employers


Legal Framework: Employers must familiarise themselves with the legal framework governing flexible working arrangements, including the statutory eligibility criteria, procedural requirements, and grounds for refusal set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996 and associated regulations.
Handling Requests: Employers should establish clear procedures for handling flexible working requests, including designated points of contact, timelines for response, and mechanisms for assessing requests on their merits.
Assessing Business Needs: When evaluating flexible working requests, employers should consider the operational impact on the business, including workload distribution, customer service requirements, team dynamics, and resource allocation.
Flexible Working Policies: Implementing robust flexible working policies can help streamline the process for both employees and employers, outlining the types of arrangements available, eligibility criteria, procedural steps, and grounds for refusal.
Equality and Diversity: Employers must ensure that their approach to flexible working is non-discriminatory and inclusive, taking into account the diverse needs of their workforce, including those related to disability, gender, age, and caregiving responsibilities.
Consultation and Communication: Effective communication is key to fostering a culture of trust and transparency around flexible working. Employers should engage in open dialogue with employees, providing information on the company’s flexible working policies, procedures, and available support resources.
Compliance and Documentation: Employers must maintain accurate records of flexible working requests, assessments, and decisions, ensuring compliance with statutory obligations and mitigating the risk of legal challenges or grievances.


In Summary


The expansion of the right to request flexible working presents both opportunities and challenges for employers seeking to balance operational needs with employee flexibility and well-being. By understanding the legal considerations surrounding flexible working arrangements and implementing robust policies and procedures, employers can effectively navigate the new landscape, foster a culture of flexibility and inclusivity, and achieve compliance with the law while meeting the evolving needs of their workforce.


For more information why not check out Flexible working changes 2024: How the new law works

Get in touch

Complete our form and we will get back to you straightaway.