The Government has introduced plans, currently in the consultation stage until December 1st, to make the right to request flexible working a day one right for employees.

Currently, employees have the right to request flexible working arrangements only after 26 weeks of continuous employment. The Government proposals would eliminate the 26-week requirement entirely, as well as reduce the current three-month period that employers have to consider an employee’s flexible working request.

Additionally, the consultation proposes restricting the reasons employers can refuse a flexible working request and introducing a new requirement for employers to offer alternative arrangements if the arrangement requested by the employee is unsuitable.

Despite these changes, it has been stressed that employers will still have the right to refuse flexible working requests for “sound business reasons”.

The current right to request flexible working allows employees to make a request once every 12 months, only after they have been continuously employed by the employer for 26-weeks. The employees request may ask for changes to their hours worked, when that work is done and where that work is done.

If you would like to find out more about the current proposals under consultation, you can read about them on the Government website.

The consultation is open until Wednesday 1st December 2021. Both businesses and employees can have their say on the Government’s proposals. If you would like to have your say click here to do so.

Need help with flexible working requests and how your business should approach them? Get in touch with our team today.