in a nutshell
The government has announced its response to last year’s “Make flexible work style default” consultation and confirmed that the right to request flexible work style will be granted as soon as possible.
- The right to request flexible work is available from day one of employment, removing the current 26-week continuous work entitlement period.
- Employers should consult with employees who wish to work flexibly and consider available options before denying their request.
- An employee can make up to two flexible work requests within a 12-month period (currently an employee can only make one request within a 12-month period) and the employer must respond to the request within 2 months (currently 3 months). ).
- Employees will no longer be required to state in their application how the employer will deal with the impact of flexible work requests. It is expected that this will be discussed during consultations.
What hasn’t changed?
- Rights remain purely demanding rights. You have no right to be allowed to work flexibly. Nonetheless, employers need to be reminded that blanket refusal to accept flexible work arrangements may, in some circumstances, amount to indirect discrimination unless objectively justified. I have. The requirement to work in an office can also potentially indirectly discriminate against disabled employees if their health condition makes commuting more difficult.
- Employers who deny flexible work requests must provide one of eight statutory business reasons for denying the request.
- The government will enact legislation to make the changes effective when Congress time permits, and will support the private lawmaker’s Employment Relations (Flexible Labor) Bill as it passes Congress.
- Enhanced guidance will be developed to raise awareness and understanding of how to create and manage temporary requests for flexible working.
- Evidence requests are launched to better understand how informal or ad hoc flexible working is actually done
For more information, see: Making Flexible Working the Default: Government Responses to the Talks
If you need advice or would like to discuss what this means for you and your business, please contact your usual Baker McKenzie representative.