A new survey from Acas has found that 7 out of 10 employees (70%) are not aware that they will have a right to request flexible working from their employer from day one of their job next year.
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.
Acas will produce a new statutory Code of Practice on handling requests for flexible working to support employers and employees through this change and other reforms, which will be introduced next year.
Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said:
"It is important for bosses and staff to be prepared for new changes to the law around the right to request flexible working, which will be coming into force next year.
"Acas has just consulted on a new draft Code of Practice, which strengthens good practice on flexible working and addresses important upcoming changes to the law. The final new Code will be published next year."
The day one right to request flexible working will come into force on 6 April 2024. Additional law reforms on flexible working that are outlined in the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 are expected to come in at the same time.
Acas's draft statutory Code of Practice on handling 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
The consultation on this new draft Code has now closed and a final version of the Code will be published next year.
1. Acas has advice on flexible working and upcoming training courses for employers about flexible working.
2. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1000 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17 to 23 August 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of British business size.
3. Participants were asked: The UK government has announced that next year employees will have the right to request flexible working from their employer from day one of a new job. Were you aware of this right?
The results were:
- Yes, I was aware: 30%
- No, I was not aware: 70%
4. Acas is the leading authority on workplace relations and dispute resolution in Great Britain. We provide free, impartial advice to employers and employees on workplace rights, rules and best practice. We provide training and tailored support for businesses that can help them succeed. Acas is a non-departmental public body that is governed by an independent Council made up of employers, trade unions and independent members.