Britain’s new flexible working rules risk turning the country into a “couch potato nation”

New measures introduced over the weekend mean employees will have the right to ask for flexible working from their first day in a new job, including requests for remote working, staggered hours and job sharing.  Millions of employees will be able to request flexible working from day one of their employment under new government plans ‘to make flexible working the default’.

Flexible working has a number of possible meanings including: job-sharing, flexitime, and working compressed, annualised, or staggered hours. It all means more pressure for already over-stretched UK businesses.

The government claims that the raft of new measures will give employees greater control over where, when, and how they work. As usual, the benefit to the beleaguered business owner is that these moves will create ‘a more diverse working environment and workforce’.

According  to the government, the measures it is committing to will:

  • remove the 26-week qualifying period before employees can request flexible working, making it a day-one right
  • require employers to consult with their employees, as a means of exploring the available options, before rejecting a flexible working request
  • allow employees to make 2 flexible working requests in any 12-month period
  • require employers to respond to requests within 2 months, down from 3
  • remove the requirement for employees to set out how the effects of their flexible working request might be dealt with by their employer

The day one right to request flexible working will be delivered through secondary legislation.

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill was introduced by Yasmin Qureshi MP and will make the other policies law through primary legislation.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, a former business secretary, said it represented another “bureaucratic burden for business which is unnecessary”.

The new rules will force managers to give detailed reasons why they have rejected a flexible working request but do not require them to agree to any changes.

Donal Blaney, the founder of Griffin Law, said the change could “turn Britain into a couch potato nation, not to mention placing an absurd burden on hard-pressed businesses”, Daily  Telegraph.

He added: “The Government should be legislating for growth, instead of encouraging workers to sit at home all day”.

The full government response to the consultation


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By |2024-04-08T21:16:13+01:00April 8th, 2024|Changes in the law, For Businesses, Helpful Guidance|Comments Off on Britain’s new flexible working rules risk turning the country into a “couch potato nation”

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