United Kingdom
New flexible working rules have been implemented in the UK from 6 April 2024. The changes aim to enhance work life balance and foster a more flexible working environment.

Key details

The most notable changes to the new flexible working regime include:

  • Day one right: Employees are now entitled to submit a flexible work request from the first day of employment rather than waiting until they have a minimum of 26 weeks of service. 
  • Number of requests allowed: Employees may now submit two, rather than one, flexible working requests in any 12-month period. A request submitted within the 12-month period prior to the implementation of the amended working rules on 6 April 2024 will be counted when determining eligibility to submit additional applications.
  • Response time: The employer’s timeframe to respond (including appeals) to flexible working requests has decreased from three months to two months from receipt of the request unless the employer and the employee agree to a longer timeframe. The new response timeframe applies only to requests submitted on or after 6 April 2024.
  • Consultation: Employers are now required to set up a mandatory consultation with the employee to discuss their flexible working request before rejecting it.
  • The impact of a request: Employees are no longer mandated to explain the impact of their flexible working arrangement on the employer (if any) and how that may be addressed.

Next steps

To ensure compliance with the new regime, employers may want to provide their managers with training on how to deal with flexible working requests in a compliant manner that aligns with company policy and business needs. Given the likelihood of an increase in requests following the introduction of the right from day one, employers must ensure their internal policies and processes are updated to reflect the changes.

Employees remain entitled to assert claims in the employment tribunal should their employer fail to respect procedural requirements or for potential discrimination when the rejection of a flexible working request is not clearly articulated.