The right to request flexible working will be a Day One right.
At the time of writing (December 2023), employees need 26 weeks’ employment before they can request flexible working. However, the right to request flexible working is to become a Day One right from 6 April 2024, meaning that employees can ask as soon as they start work.
How soon can you put in a flexible working request?
For requests made from 6 April 2024, employees don’t need any minimum period of service, because the 26-week requirement is being deleted from the legislation.
It’ll only have taken about 2 years for this to come into effect.
What are the new rules for flexible working requests?
Employees will be able to ask for flexible working from the first day of employment. In practice, we’d expect that some employees will feel able to ask about flexible working from interview stage, so they can build discussions about working arrangements into their contract negotiations.
In addition, if they are going to refuse a request, employers are required to consult with employees (whatever “consultation” means – it isn’t defined).
The new rules don’t require employees to say how their request will impact on the business, so no more crystal ball gazing for employees here.
How do I ask for flexible working?
To request a flexible working arrangement, you can make a statutory request in line with the law about flexible working, or you can make a non-statutory request. If you use the statutory framework, you’ll gain more protections, and the employer has to respond within a required timeframe. On the other hand, there are no time limits or minimum service requirements around non-statutory requests: you just ask.
Can an employer refuse to allow you flexible working?
Yes. It’s only a right to ask, not a right to get. There are 8 set reasons to refuse a request for flexible working. These aren’t changing with the new rules.
We’ve written more about the reasons for rejecting a flexible working request.
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