The shift towards all parents and carers getting the flex they need took a huge step forward in Parliament on Monday, meaning it will become law in April 2024. Once this happens, requesting flexible working will be an automatic right from the day you start a job, and you will no longer be expected to explain how the arrangement will work. The other changes you’ll notice are that you’ll be able to make two requests a year instead of one, and the processing time will now be two months instead of three. And by legally ensuring more communication from an employer should they want to reject an application, there will be more opportunity to find a solution that works for everyone.
The legislation is a massive achievement and we’re so thankful to Yasmin Qureshi MP for allowing us to work alongside her to develop a draft bill, and her hard work in making it a reality.
When we put forward the proposals to Yasmin Qureshi MP last year, we were hopeful that the time was ripe for change. And whilst there’s still work to be done before we can say everyone has equal access to flexible working, this legislation marks a sea change, and will pave the way for progressive reform in the future so that one day, flexible working will be the default in the UK.
“I’m grateful to Working Families for helping me initiate and progress the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act through Parliament. This new legislation will make it easier for employees to access flexible working opportunities and will encourage employers to think more about what working arrangements they can offer when advertising vacancies. For many of the UK’s working parents and carers, the ability to access greater flexibility could be the difference between quitting work or reducing working hours to meet their caring responsibilities, and staying in their job and maintaining their income.” Yasmin Qureshi MP