New right for all employees to request flexible working delayed

Plans to introduce the right to request flexible working for all employees on 6 April 2014 have been placed on hold due to a delay in the Children and Families Bill receiving Royal Assent.

Currently flexible working rights only apply to employees with children under the age of 17 (18 if the child is disabled) or who are recognised carers. However the changes to flexible working will mean that all employees, with 26 weeks service or more, will have the right to request a flexible pattern of work.

It should be duly noted that this is only the right to request and is not an automatic right for this to be agreed by employers. Employers will still have the right to reject a request for a change to working hours if there is a clear justified, non-discriminatory business reason as to why the change is not feasible.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has confirmed that it will no longer be possible to implement the change to flexible working eligibility on 6 April. It said that the Government will look to implement the extension at “an appropriate date as soon as possible this year”. No comment from BIS has been made, as yet, regarding the statutory procedures which are currently in place for flexible working, as these were also due to be abolished on the 6th April as a result of the Children and Families Bill. Until there is formal confirmation employers would be best advised to continue to follow the current statutory flexible working procedure until otherwise notified.

Alcumus will report on the new implementation date and any new procedures as soon as official confirmation is received.