Flexible Working Becomes a Day One Right

by Jon Taylor

15 April 2024

What does flexible working mean?

Flexible working can include any of the following:

  • Part-time working
  • Homeworking
  • Hybrid working
  • Flexitime (a working schedule which allows employees to choose when to start and end their work day)
  • Job sharing
  • Compressed hours
  • Annualised hours (flexibly distributing working hours across different periods within the year)
  • Term-time working
  • Team-based rostering (a “bottom-up” approach to scheduling work)

The law

On 6 April 2024, changes to the statutory right to request flexible working came into force as well as a revised Acas Code of Practice.

From their first day of employment, all employees now have the right to ask their employer if they can work flexibly. Previously, they only had this right after 26 weeks or more of employment.

In addition to the day one right mentioned above, the following are also covered by the Code which incorporate the changes to the law around statutory flexible working requests:

  • Allowing an employee to make 2 flexible working requests in any 12-month period rather than 1
  • A new requirement that an employer must not reject a request without consulting the employee first
  • Employers now having 2 months (rather than 3) to decide on the request

The Code encourages employers to take a positive approach to flexible working to ensure that requests are not rejected by default without a conversation with the employee to consider suitable options.

Acas has published new detailed guidance to accompany the Code, including practical examples. It is important for employers to become familiar with the revised Code as any breach of its provisions could lead to an employment tribunal claim.

If you would like guidance on how best to handle flexible working requests, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Employment team.

This article was written with the assistance of Noemi Stepan-Sarkissian


arrow back Back to Latest Thinking

Speak with us