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Majority of employees unaware of new law changes to flexible working

Seven out of 10 employees (70 per cent) are not aware that the law is changing to make it easier to request flexible working at work, finds a new survey from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).

The YouGov poll, which was conducted in January this year found that 43 per cent of employers were also unaware of the law change.

All employees who have worked for their employer for 26 weeks or more currently have the right to ask if they can work flexibly. A new change in the law will make this a right that applies from the first day of employment from 6 April 2024.

Acas has produced a revised Code of Practice on requests for flexible working to support employers and employees through this change and other reforms, which will be introduced at the same time on 6 April 2024.

Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said: “Our new findings reveal that most employees and more than two in five employers are unaware of the new upcoming law changes to flexible working.

“These new changes will be coming into force next week and it is important for bosses and staff to be prepared. Flexible working can bring many benefits in workplaces and the starting position should be to consider what may be possible.”

Acas’ Code of Practice on requests for flexible working, includes information on:

  • Who should be allowed to accompany an employee at meetings to discuss a flexible working request
  • The need for transparency about reasons for rejecting a request
  • Making it clear that employers should proactively offer an appeal where a request has been rejected.

To read Acas’ draft Code on handling requests for flexible working click here.

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