Making flexible working the default

The government is consulting whether employees should have the statutory right to request flexible working from day one.

Currently at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment is required to ask to work flexibly. The government believes this causes employers and employees to view working flexibly as a ‘perk’. It will also consider:

  • Whether the existing eight business reasons that employers may cite for refusing a flexible working request remain valid.
  • Whether employers should be required to show that they have also considered alternative working arrangements when rejecting a flexible working request.
  • Whether employees should be able to make more than one request every twelve months.
  • Whether the current three-month period that an employer has to respond to an employee’s request is too long.

However, employers will still have the right to reject a request if they have sound business reasons.

The consultation will close on 1st December 2021.