What could the Employment Relations Flexible Working Act mean for employers?

A male and female looking at the Flexible Working Act

Today, we’re diving deep into the world of flexible working. If you’ve been keeping an eye on recent legislative updates, you’d have noticed a significant buzz around the Employment Relations Flexible Working Act. 

It has received the Royal Assent, meaning it’s good to go, but it’s not in force just yet. The Act, in essence, aims to ramp up the flexibility options for workers across the UK. So, let’s unpack it a bit, shall we?


Who is entitled to flexible working? 

It’s not exactly under the Flexible Working Act, but the government is introducing the right for all employees to have the right to request flexible working from day one of their employment. Obviously, this could be really beneficial for employees who are parents or caregivers, but the right is available for everyone, irrespective of their circumstances. 

That means whether you’re a new parent, a carer, or just someone looking to better balance work and leisure, you can ask your employer for a flexible working pattern.


How will the new Flexible Working Act support workers? 

Essentially, the whole idea of the Act is to make it easier for millions of British workers to have flexibility over where and when they work. 

The government recognised that a one-size-fits-all working approach just doesn’t cut it in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world. So it has introduced:


  • New requirements for employers to consult with the employee before rejecting their flexible working request.
  • Permission to make two statutory requests in any 12-month period (rather than the current one request).
  • Reduced waiting times for decisions to be made (within which an employer administers the statutory request) from three months to two months.
  • For the removal of existing requirements, the employee must explain what effect, if any, the change applied would have on the employer and how that effect might be dealt with.


What does the new Flexible Working Act mean for employers?

For the employers out there, this Act means some homework. Preparation is crucial – but the good news is you can start applying these new principles now and updating your policies and the way you approach requests, rather than waiting until they actually come into force. It can only improve employee engagement, and could even attract new recruits. 

As the Act rolls out, you’ll need to be ready to consider and process these flexible working requests from your team. But don’t fret! Check out our flexible working guide for more details on how to get this right.


What are the benefits of the Employment Relations Flexible Working Act?

The Employment Relations Flexible Working Act isn’t just a win for employees – it’s a win-win! On the employee side, there’s the obvious benefit of work-life balance – and that can help employers maintain productivity, retain employees, and attract recruits. Obviously, employers are people, too, so they could take advantage of more flexibility – whether it’s caregiving responsibilities or leaving time for hobbies.


Care responsibilities

For those with care duties, it allows for scheduling that makes attending to loved ones more feasible.


For parents, school runs and parent-teacher meetings can now be fit into schedules without too much juggling.

Individuals with no responsibilities

Even those without caregiving duties or children benefit. Flexible schedules mean they can pursue courses, and hobbies, or even avoid rush-hour traffic.


Build a flexible workplace with support from Citation

If you’ve got any questions on flexible working – or any other HR & Employment Law issues – our experts are on hand to make sure that you’ve got access to all the information, tools and templates you need if you partner with us.

With our 24/7 HR & Employment Law package, you can get 24/7 advice, HR documentation sorted for you, and access to an online HR management hub to stay on top of your people and your processes. 

If you’d like to benefit from what Citation can offer your business, simply fill in the form on this page and we’ll get right back to you.

Get more information

Pop in your details and we'll call you straight back

We'll get back to you as soon as we can.