IRIS Elements: Millions to benefit from upcoming Employment Law changes image

IRIS Elements: Millions to benefit from upcoming Employment Law changes

Is your flexible working policy compliant with upcoming Employment Law changes?

onMonday, 8 January 2024

Is your flexible working policy compliant with upcoming Employment Law changes?  

Thanks to a new Flexible Working Bill, millions of British workers will have more flexibility regarding where and when they work.

Extending to England, Wales and Scotland, the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 has received Royal Assent.

The major changes proposed in the bill will enter into force on April 6th 2024, with some regulations already taking effect.

But what does this update change?

Understanding the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023

Together with further secondary legislation in the form of regulations, The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 will introduce the following measures:

Day one employment right

The Act will empower employees with the statutory right to request flexible working from day one of employment.

This means the requirement for employees to have at least 26 weeks of continuous service before requesting flexible working will no longer be in force.

Rejection consultations

Currently, employers can reject flexible working requests with a letter only.

However, following the change, employers are required to consult with the employee when they intend to reject their flexible working request.

More applications

Be prepared for employees to invoke this right more often if their application is rejected.

Thanks to the act, employees will be allowed to make two applications (rather than one) for a flexible work application during any 12-month period.

Shorter timescale

The upcoming regulations will require the flexible working application process to be on a shorter timescale.

Employers will now need to provide a decision within two months in respect of a statutory flexible working request, rather than the current three.

Removal of existing requirements

Finally, the Act is making the flexible working application process simpler for employees.

The existing requirement that an employee must explain what impact, if any, the change would have on the employer and how that impact might be dealt with is being removed.

Why are we seeing such a huge demand for flexible working?  

Simply put, the pandemic showcased the feasibility and benefits of flexible working on a never-before-seen scale.

As such, many of the concerns and questions around flexible working were quashed.

Following workers having a taste of added flexibility, demands have skyrocketed.

In fact, the CIPD found a 40% increase in flexible working requests following the pandemic.

In the same study, the CIPD also found that 71% of workers say being able to have a flexible working pattern is vital, and 69% say the ability to work remotely is important. 

Ultimately, flexible working is very much the new norm and the new Flexible Working Act aims to update legislation in line with current expectations.

Offering the best employee experience

Facilitating an excellent flexible working environment requires excellent HR software.

Cloud HR software is vital for giving remote employees access to key HR areas such as L&D, leave booking, benefits, objective setting and feedback options.

However, HR professionals also need cloud software for themselves in order to benefit from flexible working options!

At IRIS, we have plenty of solutions to meet the needs of every business, regardless of size – learn more about our HR software here and our HR Consulting Services here.

For those looking for added advice on supporting a remote workforce, check out this blog.

You can also learn more about the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 here.

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