StandardsUK flexible work laws have changed: Here’s what you need to know

Content Team2 months ago4 min

Despite a higher demand for flexible working, the vast majority of employees (7 in 10) are unaware of new law changes, says a new survey from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

The YouGov poll, conducted in January this year, revealed that a staggering 70 percent of employees did not know about upcoming changes in the law, which are designed to streamline the process of requesting flexible working options in the workplace. Equally surprising, 43 percent of employers were found to be lacking awareness regarding the impending modifications.

Previously, employees were entitled to ask to work flexibly once they had passed the 26 week mark of working for their employer. However, this has changed from 6 April 2024, when Acas released a revised Code of Practice on requests for flexible working. This comprehensive guide is intended to provide clarity and guidance through the impending reforms.

Flexible working refers to a work arrangement that offers employees flexibility in how long, where, and when they work, enabling them to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Not only has demand for flexible working increased, but research is pointing to its positive benefits. A Q4 2023 report from US-based Scoop showed that flexible working policies increase revenue growth. Drawing on responses from 554 public companies in the US, the report found that companies who adopted a fully flexible work policy exhibited a three-year industry-adjusted revenue growth rate of 21%.

What’s new in the Acas Code of Practice?

Under the revised Code of Practice, several key points are highlighted:

– Guidelines on who should be allowed to accompany an employee during discussions regarding flexible working requests.

– Emphasis on transparency in communicating reasons for rejecting a request.

– Encouragement for employers to proactively offer an appeals process following the rejection of a request.

Expressing the importance of awareness and preparedness for the forthcoming alterations, Susan Clews, Chief Executive of Acas, emphasized, “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.”

You can find more information on the new law and Acas code here.

Content Team

Work in Mind is a content platform designed to give a voice to thinkers, businesses, journalists and regulatory bodies in the field of healthy buildings.

Subscribe to our newsletter