UK’s Flexible Working Act 2023: FAQs for Employers and Employees

Enacted in July 2023, this law aims to promote flexible working arrangements, empowering employees to better balance their professional and personal lives. This act will come into effect on 6th April 2024. Read on.
  • Author: Siva
  • Last updated: December 28, 2023
  • 4 Minutes
UK employment relations flexible working act 2023 a guide for employers and employees

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In today’s dynamic and evolving workplace, flexibility is key to employee satisfaction and organizational success. The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023, enacted in July 2023, aims to promote flexible working arrangements, empowering employees to better balance their professional and personal lives.

Flexible Working Act 2023
This act will come into effect on 6th April 2024. Every employee (meeting eligibility criteria listed below in the blog) will have day one right to request flexible working in the UK. Read on.

Flexible Working Act law in simple words

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 grants employees the right to request flexible working arrangements after 26 weeks of continuous service with their employer. This includes:

  • Flexible hours: Varying working hours within a specified pattern, such as compressed hours or staggered start and finish times
  • Remote working: Working from home or another location outside of the employer’s premises for a significant proportion of working hours
  • Job shares: Sharing the responsibilities of a single full-time role between two or more individuals
  • Term-time working: Working reduced hours during term time and taking unpaid leave during school holidays

How is this law beneficial for employees?

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 provides employees with several benefits, including:

  • Better work-life balance: Flexible working arrangements allow employees to better manage their personal commitments, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being
  • Increased productivity: Flexible working can potentially boost productivity by allowing employees to work when their most productive hours are and avoid commuting-related disruptions
  • Improved employee satisfaction: Employees who have the flexibility to work in a way that suits their individual needs are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs
  • Reduced employee turnover: Flexible working arrangements can contribute to reduced employee turnover by making the workplace more attractive and accommodating to diverse employee needs

How can employees request flexible working?

To initiate a flexible working request, employees must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Continuous Service: Have at least 26 weeks of continuous service with their current employer.
  2. Employment Contract: Hold an employment contract, including permanent, fixed-term, and agency workers.
  3. No Previous Request: Not have made a flexible working request in the previous 12 months.

Request Submission

Employees can submit a flexible working request to their employer using a written application form. The form should clearly outline the following:

  1. Proposed Flexible Working Arrangement: The specific flexible working pattern requested, such as flexible hours, remote working, job share, or term-time working.
  2. Reasons for Request: The rationale behind the request, highlighting how it would benefit both the employee and the organization.
  3. Impact Assessment: An assessment of the potential impact of the proposed arrangement on the employee’s role, team, and overall business operations.

How can employers enforce this law?

Upon receiving a flexible working request, employers are legally bound to consider it in good faith. This means evaluating the request objectively and providing a timely and reasoned response.

Response Timeline

Employers must respond to a flexible working request within three months. The response can be in one of three forms:

  1. Full Grant: Granting the request in its entirety, allowing the employee to commence the proposed flexible working arrangement.
  2. Partial Grant: Granting a modified version of the request, accommodating some aspects of the proposed arrangement while maintaining the business’s needs.
  3. Reasoned Refusal: Denying the request with written justification, citing specific reasons why the arrangement is not feasible or would cause undue hardship to the business.

Reasoned refusal & alternative
If an employer refuses a flexible working request, they must provide written reasons for the denial, ensuring transparency and fairness. Additionally, they should offer alternative flexible working options that might be more suitable for the employee and the organization.

What tools can help employers enforce this law smoothly?

Employers can utilize workforce planning software like Papershift to streamline the process of managing flexible working requests. This software provides a centralized platform for:

  1. Request Tracking: Easily tracking employee requests, deadlines, and corresponding decision-making processes.
  2. Feasibility Assessment: Assessing the viability of proposed flexible working arrangements based on operational requirements and resource availability.
  3. Decision Documentation: Maintaining a comprehensive record of all discussions, decisions, and reasons for granting, denying, or modifying flexible working requests.

By leveraging workforce planning software, employers can effectively manage flexible working requests, ensuring compliance with the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 and fostering a culture of work-life balance within their organizations.

Additional tips for employers:

  • Educate employees about their flexible working rights: Ensure employees are well-informed about their right to request flexible working arrangements and the steps involved in making a request
  • Develop a clear and transparent flexible working policy: Establish a comprehensive policy outlining the organization’s approach to flexible working requests, including the evaluation process, communication channels, and appeals procedures
  • Promote open communication and collaboration: Encourage open dialogue between managers and employees to discuss flexible working options and address any concerns or questions

How can Papershift help you comply with such laws?

Papershift’s workforce planning software provides a comprehensive solution for managing flexible working requests, supporting compliance with the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023. Key features include:

  • Streamlined request management: Facilitate easy creation, tracking, and approval of flexible working requests
  • Centralized data storage: Maintain a secure and accessible record of all flexible working requests, discussions, and decisions
  • Communication tools: Facilitate effective communication between managers, employees, and HR teams regarding flexible working arrangements
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By adopting Papershift’s flexible working management solutions, employers can seamlessly navigate the regulatory landscape, enhance employee satisfaction, and optimize workforce productivity.

Written by Siva

I write & describe the value & benefits delivered by Paperhift's rota planning, staff time tracking, and employee payroll management software. Especially useful for Shift Planners, Rota Managers, Team Admins, and HR Teams :-)