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Flexible Working Bill

Changes to the existing right to request flexible working arrangements will be taken forward via a Private Members’ Bill.

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill, which has government support, will amend s. 80F and 80G of the Employment Rights Act 1996. It will allow an employee to make two statutory flexible working requests within a 12-month period and remove the requirement on them to explain what impact the request might have on the organisation, and how it could be mitigated. The Bill also introduces a requirement on employers to consult with the employee before rejecting a flexible working request and reduces the time within which an employer has to respond to a request from three to two months.

In 2021 the government consulted on various aspects of the right to request flexible working. While the Bill deals with some of the issues covered by the consultation, it does not cover making such a right a Day 1 right, i.e. getting rid of the 26-week qualifying period. The government has promised to respond to the 2021 consultation so we may know more at that point.