Businesses urged to prepare for new flexible working rights

07 May 2014

Businesses are being advised to ensure that they are prepared for the introduction of new flexible working rights, which come into effect next month.

From 30 June 2014, the right to request flexible working arrangements will be extended to all employees with a minimum 26 weeks of continuous service.

The new rules were originally due to take effect in April, but were postponed following delays to the Children and Families Bill.

The right to request flexible working currently applies to qualifying carers of adults and all parents of children aged 16 or under (or disabled children under 18) with 26 weeks of continuous employment. The change in the law means that from 30 June, all employees will be legally entitled to request flexible working arrangements, such as working from home, part-time work or flexitime.

In addition, the statutory procedure for considering requests will be repealed and replaced with a duty to consider all requests in a reasonable manner and within three months.

However, businesses may still reject claims for flexible working arrangements where there are legitimate business grounds, as defined by legislation.

Employers are advised to review their existing flexible working policies and to provide training on the new rules where appropriate.

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