On Friday 14 July, the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill passed its third reading in the House of Lords, meaning that once given Royal Assent, it will be enacted in Law.
The Bill, once enacted, will amend section 80F of the Employment Rights Act 1996 so that all employees will have the right to request flexible working, supposedly from their first day of employment (though it remains to be seen whether the Government will make this a ‘day one right’).
Lottie Mallin-Martin, Employment barrister at Guildhall Chambers, says ‘The amends introduced by the Flexible Working Bill should benefit all employees in the workplace, but they will be especially important to some working parents, carers, and disabled people. While the amends are intended to promote constructive discussion about flexible working arrangements, the Bill is silent as to the grounds on which an employer can reasonably reject a request, or an employee can appeal an adverse decision.
ACAS is currently consulting on the draft Code of Practice on handling requests for flexible working. It’s anticipated that the outcome will be a clear explanation of the law, alongside good practice advice on handling requests in a reasonable manner. To take part in the ACAS consultation, visit their website: https://www.acas.org.uk/about-us/acas-consultations/code-of-practice-flexible-working-requests-2023. ELA will also be forming a working group to take part in this consultation.’
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