Insights Flexible Working: New rules come into force


New laws relating to requests for flexible working came into force on 6 April 2024, bringing significant changes to the workplace.

First, employees will no longer be required to have 26 weeks of continuous employment before making a request for flexible working: that right will exist from day one. Second, employees making such a request will no longer be required to set out what effects they think their request would have on their employer and how those effects could be mitigated. Third, employers will now have two months rather than three to make a decision about a request and must consult with the employee beforehand. Fourth, an employee can now make two written requests for flexible working in any 12-month period.

In addition to the new legislation coming into force, ACAS has issued a new ‘Code of Practice on requests for flexible working’ that must be followed when an employee makes a request for flexible working in line with the new legislation. It includes clear guidance about the new rules and on the process that should be followed, making it clear that employers must “handle every request in a reasonable manner” and “agree to a flexible working request unless there is a genuine business reason not to” (those reasons being set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996).

More information can be found here, and the ACAS Code of Practice is available here.