Are flexible working requests set to change?

30th September 2021 2 min read Lauren Beaumont

As people start returning to the workplace, more staff are making flexible working requests which is not surprising given that a great number of people have worked remotely for over a year. 

This week the Government has launched a consultation asking for views on flexible working and, in particular, whether flexible working should be the default position. 

The consultation specifically asks for views on the following:   

  1. whether the right to make a flexible working request should be a day 1 right (or remain a request that can only be made after 26 weeks service);
  2. whether the existing 8 business reasons for rejecting a flexible working request remain valid;
  3. whether the current administrative periods are reasonable; and
  4. whether employees should be permitted to make a request for temporary working arrangements.

As the law currently stands, only staff with more than six months service have a statutory right to make a flexible working request. Whilst some employers deal with request promptly, the current regime only requires employers to deal with flexible working requests in a reasonable manner and, in any event, within three months of the date of the request. Furthermore, employers can rely upon one (or more) of eight statutory reasons for refusing the request. This combined can, understandingly, be very unsatisfactory and frustrating for individuals. 

The recent pandemic has sought to normalise remote working, as well as highlight the repercussions of an unhealthy work-life balance. As workplaces adjust to a ‘new normal’ this consultation will, no doubt, be welcomed by the majority.  

If you are: 

  1. an employee looking for advice regarding a flexible working request you plan to make / have made; or
  2. an employer concerned about the implications of a flexible working request in your workplace,

please get in touch with us here at People Legal. We are trained and experienced in handling all matters of employment law and can provide you with the information you need.

Call us on 0800 368 8470 or arrange a chat at for free initial advice.

Please note the information contained in this briefing is intended as a general review of the subject featured and is not a substitute for obtaining specific legal advice.