- The U.K. workforce will soon have explicit rights laying out how, when and why they can request flexible working arrangements, including day-one eligibility.
- UK’s Minister for Small Business, Kevin Hollinrake, has expressed his support for the bill, stating he believes greater flexibility over where, when, and how people work is an integral part of their plan to make the U.K. the best place in the world to work.
- The bill also requires employers to consult with their employees and explore alternate available options before rejecting a flexible working request.
The United Kingdom is on the brink of a significant shift in employment practices with the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill moving closer to becoming law. This legislation is set to revolutionize the working landscape for millions of employees across the U.K. by granting them the right to request flexible working from their first day on the job.
The bill successfully passed through the House of Lords without any amendments this week, and now awaits royal assent before it officially becomes law.
Currently, workers are required to provide 26 weeks of continuous service before they can apply to change their work location, hours, or pattern. However, the new bill will remove this qualifying period, making flexible working a day-one right.
The soon-to-be law also increases the number of flexible working requests an employee can make within a 12-month period from one to two. Further, it eliminates the requirement for employees to explain how the effects of their flexible working request might be dealt with by their employer.
However, it’s important to note that while employees will have the right to request flexible working, companies will still need to approve these requests, and approval is not guaranteed. Under the new law, employers are required to respond to requests within two months, down from the three months currently stipulated. The bill also requires employers to consult with their employees and explore alternate available options before rejecting a flexible working request.
The government believes that these changes will give employees a greater say over when, where, and how they work. This flexibility is expected to help people balance their work and personal life, particularly those with responsibilities such as caring for children or vulnerable individuals.
The U.K.’s Minister for Small Business Kevin Hollinrake has expressed his support for the bill, stating that giving staff more say over their working pattern leads to happier employees and more productive businesses. He believes that greater flexibility over where, when, and how people work is an integral part of their plan to make the UK the best place in the world to work.
The passage of this bill marks a significant step towards a more flexible future of work in the U.K. It reflects a growing recognition of the benefits of flexible working, not just for employees but also for businesses, who stand to benefit from higher productivity and staff retention as a result.