The Government has announced that from 30 June 2014 the right to request flexible working arrangements will be extended to all employees, provided they have worked for their employer for 26 weeks continuously at the date the application is made. The original implementation date for this measure was 6 April 2014, but this had to be extended owing to delays to the Children and Families Bill. This is now expected to gain Royal Assent this month.
From 30 June 2014, the current statutory procedure that applies to flexible working requests will be repealed. Instead, employers will have a duty to consider all requests in a reasonable manner. They will have the flexibility to refuse requests on business grounds.
The right to request flexible working currently applies to employees who have children under the age of 17 (18 if the child is disabled) or those who have caring responsibilities.
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service had already produced non-statutory guidance, ‘Handling requests to work flexibly in a reasonable manner’, which gives practical examples to help businesses manage the new extended right. This requires amendment to take into account the new implementation date.