- Millions of British workers will have more flexibility over where and when they work as the Flexible Working Bill achieves Royal Assent.
- Workers will have the right to request flexible working from day one of a new job, with employers required to consider any requests and provide a reason before rejection.
- Follows a wave of wins for workers after a record National Minimum Wage uplift and boosts to employment protections for parents and unpaid carers.
Employees across the UK will be given even more flexibility over where and when they work, as the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill receives Royal Assent.
Delivering on a 2019 Manifesto commitment to encourage flexible working, the Act will require employers to consider and discuss any requests made by their employee – who will have the right to two requests a year – within two months of a request, down from three.
Flexible working is a broad term and can relate to working hours or pattern including part-time, term-time, flexi-time, compressed hours, or adjusting start and finish times. It can also include flexibility over where someone works, whether that be from home or a satellite office shortening their commute.
As well as clear benefits to workers, the measures are also good for British business. Research has shown companies that embrace flexible working can attract more talent, improve staff motivation and reduce staff turnover – boosting their business’s productivity and competitiveness.
CIPD research shows that 6 percent of employees changed jobs last year specifically due to a lack of flexible options and 12 percent left their profession altogether due to a lack of flexibility within the sector. This represents almost 2 and 4 million workers respectively.
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Our HR Comment: Millions to benefit from new flexible working measures
Matthew P Chilcott, FCIPD, ACEL, Owner of Consensus HR comments: “The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill 2022-23 is a Private Member’s Bill, Bill 22 of the 2022-23 session, introduced on 15 June 2022 by Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi who came ninth in the Private Members’ Bill ballot for the 2022-23 session. Since this time we have known that this has been coming and a copy of the Bill can be found by clicking here. There are a number of changes to the current legislation as outlined in the article from the Government which will put more emphasis on the employer to justify why more fully after consultation with the employee why they will not accept a flexible working requests;. Employees will also be able to request flexible working twice in a year rather than the current one at present. We will be working with our monthly retained clients to update their Current HR Policies and Procedures and Handbooks to ensure the new law is incorporated and acted upon as soon as possible.
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