New flexible working laws are set to come into force in Spring 2024, but what does this revised Bill really mean for your organisation? 

In our recent webinar, ‘The Flexible Working Bill: Navigating the Changes and Misconceptions’, we discussed the changes to the Bill and how it will impact organisations across the country alongside a panel of experts and have provided some of the highlights and key takeaways from that discussion and what it all means for businesses like yours. 

What is the new Flexible Working Bill? And who needs to know about it?

At the end of July 2023, the UK government announced that a new Flexible Working Bill will be passing into law in early 2024 (expected in Spring). This Bill builds on the existing Flexible Working Bill, bringing change that will mean employees will now be entitled to request flexible working arrangements from day one of their employment. This includes requests for part-time, term-time, flexitime, compressed hours, and varied working locations and will have the biggest impact on business leaders, line managers and HR departments. 

What’s changing from the current guidance?

The legislation is a people-first initiative that aims to make employees feel empowered within their organisation to ask for flexible working requests. Under the new Bill, there are several changes for employers and employees alike to know about.  

Key changes for employers to be aware of include: 

  • Employers must explain why flexible working request are being denied, whereas previously they could be denied at the outset with no specific reasoning.
  • Employers are now obliged to respond to requests within two months, compared to three in the previous Bill.

Key changes for employees to be aware of include: 

  • Employees will be able to make two flexible working requests in a 12-month period compared to just one.  
  • Employees no longer need to explain what effects they feel making any requested changes would have on their company. 
  • The new Flexible Working Bill doesn’t mean employers have to accept every request they receive. However, it does means that they must speak to the employee who made the request before denying or accepting it, explaining the reasons behind the decision. 

What are the benefits of the Flexible Working Bill for employers?

According to our Talent Trends survey, flexibility was cited as the second most important factor when employees are looking for a new role. With the changes outlined in this new Bill, it aims to help employees achieve the levels of flexibility they want from their current employers and help promote a more open approach.

Transparency regarding flexible working not only enhances the employee experience but also significantly contributes to strengthening an organisation’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP). By openly communicating the available flexible working options, and the associated benefits, companies can demonstrate their commitment to fostering a healthy work-life balance and accommodating the diverse needs of their workforce. Employers who are accommodating to their employees’ working wishes will also likely see reduced employee turnover rates and a more engaged workforce.

What should employers do to prepare for the Flexible Working Bill?

Embracing the Flexible Working Bill will take more than just adherence to regulations; it will also mean fostering a workplace culture that prioritises employee well-being, efficiency, and inclusivity. Below are some strategies for employers to proactively navigate this evolving landscape:
1. Education and communication: Familiarise your team with the changes and resulting effects of the Bill, and encourage transparent discussions regarding flexible working options while addressing any concerns or misconceptions openly.
2. Review and revise policies: Ensure your company policies and procedures are aligned with the new legislation. Establish unambiguous guidelines for processing and responding to requests for flexible working arrangements.
3. Manager training: Equip your managers with the necessary skills to handle requests for flexible working arrangements adeptly. Provide training on overseeing remote teams, evaluating performance based on outcomes, and fostering a culture of trust.
4. Evaluate job roles: Assess current roles to pinpoint positions that could benefit from flexible arrangements. Evaluate the viability of job-sharing, remote work, compressed workweeks, and other potential alternatives.

What’s next?

Watch on-demand

For more insights into the new Flexible Working Bill and what it means for your business, watch the full webinar on-demand through the link below.

If you’re looking to hire or want to speak to a recruitment expert in your sector request a call back and we’ll be in touch soon. Alternatively, find out more about our HR Advisory Services and how we can help your business thrive using the link below.

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