Will flexible working become a day 1 right?

The UK Government’s announcement to make flexible working a day-one right to request marks a victory for the #Flexfrom1st campaign, which is being led by the CIPD. Millions of workers will be able to request flexible work arrangements starting on the first day of employment, the UK government stated today.

The CIPD is pleased to see this policy shift become a reality after pushing on the UK Government to make flexible working a day one right to request since February 2021 through its #Flexfrom1st campaign. Currently, employees cannot seek flexible work until they have been at their current job for six months (26 weeks). The information released today will enable millions of people to benefit from flexible working from the beginning of their employment.

Key takeaways

The UK government has promised to: Make flexible working a right from the first day of employment by eliminating the 26-week qualifying requirement.

  • Before denying a request for flexible working, businesses are required to communicate with their staff in order to explore all of their possibilities.
  • enabling workers to seek two types of flexible working arrangements every year.
  • Employers are now only required to respond to requests within two months as opposed to three.
  • removing the requirement that employees outline how their employer might respond to the impact of their request for flexible working.

UK Government consultation

In September, the CIPD responded to the UK Government’s flexible working consultation. To help inform the response, evidence was cited from seven member focus groups across the UK along with data from a YouGov survey of over 1,000 senior HR and organization decision-makers. The data found that 57% were in favour of the day-one right to request and overall the CIPD responded positively to the consultation, providing key recommendations to help create fairer more inclusive flexible working practices.

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, said:

“We applaud the government for instituting a right to request flexible work arrangements starting on day one. We have been advocating for this change because it would increase access to flexible employment for more individuals while also fostering more equitable and inclusive workplaces. People with health concerns, older workers, and people with care obligations would all benefit especially.”

“With major advantages for workers in terms of welfare and work-life balance, this new entitlement will help normalise discussions regarding flexibility at the beginning of the employment relationship. The ability to recruit and maintain a more diverse staff will also help organisations increase their productivity and agility, which is equally vital.”

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