Consultation on reforms to right to request flexible working

Closing date: 1 December 2021

The Government consults on reforms to the Flexible Working Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/1398) to reflect changing attitudes to flexible working. The consultation looks at:

  • making the right to request flexible working a "day one right" (currently, employees need 26 weeks' service to be entitled to request flexible working);
  • changing the administrative process underpinning the right (currently, employees are entitled to make one statutory request every 12 months and employers have three months from the request to inform employees of their decision);
  • validating whether the eight prescribed business reasons that employers can put forward to reject a flexible working request are still fit for purpose;
  • requiring employers that have concluded that a request cannot be accommodated to show that they have considered possible alternative working arrangements as a compromise (currently, employers have only to state that a request to work flexibly cannot be accommodated and give the business reasons why); and
  • raising awareness that it is possible under the statutory regime for employers to agree to temporary flexible working arrangements (for example if the employee needs a change for a set period to facilitate their child's transition from early years care into school or to support an elderly parent's move into a care home).

Consultation document: Making flexible working the default