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Acas seeks views on draft flexible working code

Monday 25 February 2013

Acas has today launched a consultation on a draft Code of Practice on the extended right to request flexible working.

Under the Government's proposals, announced in November last year, the right to request flexible working will be extended to all employees who have worked for their employer for 26 weeks or more. Employers are obliged to consider all requests in a reasonable manner.

The current statutory procedure will be repealed and the Government has asked Acas to produce a Code of Practice to help businesses manage this new extended right.

Acas is seeking views from employees and employers, particularly small businesses who often don't have HR support and may face challenges in managing flexible working requests.

The draft Code is designed to offer short, practical advice to make it as easy as possible for employers to handle requests and fit them to their specific circumstances and procedures.

Chair of Acas Ed Sweeney said:

"This draft Code builds on our knowledge and expertise across all workplace issues. It will make it easier for employers to be fair in considering requests to work flexibly which helps to maintain good working relationships and minimise discrimination.

"We're very keen to hear views on the draft Code from anyone who has an interest in flexible working."

Acas will also produce a non statutory good practice guide with practical examples of managing flexible working requests in the workplace. This will be published alongside the final Code.

In producing the Code Acas has sought advice from employer representatives, unions and charities.

Sarah Jackson, Chief Executive of Working Families said:

"Working Families warmly welcomes the extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees as good for business and good for families.

"We are pleased to see a consultation on a Code of Practice to guide employers on what it means to deal reasonably with a request from an employee for a different working pattern.

"We also look forward to further and more detailed guidance from Acas to give employers confidence in responding positively to requests and changing workplace cultures for the better."

The consultation will run for 12 weeks and closes on 20 May 2013. Responses can be submitted by email or letter - email address is

Today the Government has also launched its consultation on the administration process for shared parental leave and pay as part of its commitment to create a modern workplace for the modern economy. The consultation will seek views on how the new system will work and fit together with current arrangements for maternity and paternity leave and adopters.

Notes to editors

  1. The Acas consultation on the Draft Code of Practice on the extended right to request flexible working will run for 12 weeks from 25 February 2013 and the closing date for responses is 20 May 2013. For further information visit Acas consultations.
  2. Responses to the Acas consultation can be submitted by email or letter - email address is
  3. The right to request was first introduced in April 2003 for parents of children under six years old or under 18 if the child has a disability. The right was extended to certain carers in 2007 and further extended to parents of all children under 17 in 2009.
  4. For more information and to take part in BIS' consultation on the administration for shared parental leave and pay visit GOV.UK - Open consultation on the administration of shared parental leave and pay.
  5. Acas aims to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. It provides information, advice, training and a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent or resolve problems and improve performance. It is an independent statutory body governed by a Council consisting of the Acas Chair and employer, trade union and independent members.
  6. For media enquiries or to arrange an interview please contact Shumon Rahman/Clare Carter on 0207 210 3688, Lou Owen on 0207 210 3920 or Kirsty Fitzjohn on 0207 210 3648. For out of hours media enquiries please call the out of hours duty press officer on 07825 691093.