Flexible Work Regulations Take Effect in the U.K.

By Alex Denny, Victoria FitzGerald and Emma Vennesson Jun 30, 2014

The United Kingdom’s new Flexible Working Regulations 2014 are now in effect.

As of June 30, 2014, the regulations introduce a number of significant changes, including the following:

  • All employees with 26 weeks’ service can now make a request to work flexibly. The right is no longer limited to parents of children under 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and certain careers.
  • The previous strict statutory timetable for considering flexible working requests has been replaced by a new duty on employers to deal with requests in a “reasonable manner” and within three months of a request being made.
  • A statutory code of practice (currently in draft form) will set out guidelines which employers must follow when dealing with flexible working requests.

It is important to note, however, that employers can still refuse a request on one of the eight statutory grounds which are unchanged and include the (broad) “burden of additional costs” and “detrimental impact on quality” grounds.

Although these changes may sound alarming to employers, it should be remembered that it is a “right to make a request for flexible working” and not a “right to flexible working.” It will be interesting to see what impact these changes have in practice but, in the meantime, we recommend that employers review their existing flexible working policies.

Alex Denny is a partner, Victoria FitzGerald an associate and Emma Vennesson an associate in Faegre Baker Daniels’ London office.

Copyright 2014 © Faegre Baker Daniels LLP. All rights reserved.

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