New Flexible Working Changes Will Affect Millions of Employees

Posted: 27th October 2023

According to the government, millions of British workers will benefit from the new flexible working changes that have gained Royal Assent under the new Flexible Working Bill. Research conducted by CIPD found that 6% of employees switched jobs last year because there weren’t any flexible working options at their organisation. Flexible working patterns can be interpreted in different ways, they could include working condensed days, changing start and finish times or working in different locations.

Flexible working patterns can help to increase productivity in the workplace and reduce stress and job satisfaction, allowing time to be made for creating a healthy work-life balance. People are productive at different times of the day and have different responsibilities such as caring for elderly parents or young children for instance. So allowing flexible working patterns will give employees more autonomy to balance competing demands both at work and at home and keep them motivated to work effectively.

Not only can employees benefit from flexible working arrangements, but employers can too. Flexible working habits promote improved worker well-being. Flexibility at work can help to attract highly skilled and talented professionals as many people value flexible working opportunities so they can feel more autonomous. In addition, it also helps to retain staff, building a happier and more dedicated workforce.

What Are the Flexible Working Changes?

The new changes proposed by the government will mean that 2.2 million more employees will be affected because they will be able to ask for flexible working options from the very first day of starting a job.

After receiving a request for flexible working, if an employer decides to reject it, they will need to talk with their employees and explain why. If the explanation is not satisfactory, perhaps it discriminates against parents who need to work certain hours or certain days to meet childcare commitments, employees may be able to make a claim in the Employment Tribunal.

Currently, workers are able to make one request for flexible working per year, however, the new law will allow employees to make two requests in any 12-month period. Instead of having to wait up to 3 months to receive an outcome for a flexible working request, employees will only need to wait up to 2 months. As well as this, employees will no longer have to explain how the changes to their pattern of working will affect the employer. Acas has created a new flexible working Statutory Code that will guide employers and employees on flexible working requests.

This is a positive step for workplaces around the country. It means that workers have more options rather than having to stick to a rigid working schedule and can request this from the first day of employment. This means that work environments are likely to be happier places and the conversations around flexible working arrangements will be more normal as opposed to a topic that employees may steer clear of so as to not rock the boat in a new role. Flexible working can now be an opportunity for everyone regardless of the sector.