TWU understands that a significant amendment to flexible working conditions is on the horizon, likely to impact millions of workers. The proposed legislation, aimed at enhancing the flexible working rights of employees, has advanced a stage further to becoming law.
The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill, which affords employees the ability to request flexible working conditions from day one of their employment, has recently passed its final hurdle in the House of Lords. Awaiting only the formality of the royal assent, the legislation is on the brink of becoming law.
This monumental change includes alterations to employees’ working hours, schedules, or locations. As it currently stands, workers are required to articulate the ramifications of these changes on their employers, with the restriction of making just one such request in a 12-month period.
The pending Bill aims to amend these constraints, permitting employees to make two such requests within a 12-month span, while simultaneously removing the necessity to justify the impact on their employer. Nonetheless, the power to grant or reject such flexible working requests remains within the company’s domain, and approvals are not guaranteed.
Flexible working arrangements are known to foster a healthier work-life balance, particularly beneficial for those with external responsibilities like childcare or the care of vulnerable individuals. The government has previously acknowledged these benefits.
Following the endorsement of the flexible working model by 100 firms that signed up to trial a four-day workweek as part of a nationwide scheme, queries surrounding flexible working rights have surged. While employers retain the right to dictate their preferred working locations, employees are also legally entitled to request flexible working arrangements. However, this right does not equate to automatic approval. Employers can deny work-from-home arrangements if they present valid business reasons.
The Workers Union Says…
“With the potential enactment of this Bill, employees can anticipate a newfound capacity to request flexible working conditions from the outset of their employment. Meanwhile, several firms have already adopted remote work policies. For those desiring a more flexible work structure, open dialogue with their employer is a practical first step, considering that the ability to make a flexible working request remains a legal right for all employees.”