Acas issues advice for employers as flexible working changes come into force

Acas issues advice for employers as flexible working changes come into force

New legislation that encourages flexible working practices comes into force today (30 June). From today, all employees who have worked for their employer for 26 weeks or more will have the right to ask if they can work flexibly. This right previously only applied to the parents with children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and certain carers. To help guide employers through the process, workplace expert Acas has published a new Code of Practice and guidance on the right to request flexible working. The new Code and practical guidance is designed to help employers consider any requests in a reasonable manner and stay within the law. “Many employers recognise that they can retain talented staff by offering a flexible approach to work and a healthy work life balance can help business success and growth, said Acas Chair Brendan Barber. “Our new guide has practical examples to help businesses or employers manage flexible working requests in a reasonable way and avoid any pitfalls.

The guide includes advice on:

  • how employees can make a request to work flexibly;
  • how to handle a request to work flexibly and what to consider;
  • how to manage requests fairly;
  • avoiding discrimination; and
  • dealing with appeals.

Explained Barber: “There are many types of flexible working such as part-time working, flexitime, job sharing, shift working and homeworking. Acas has also published a new guide today to help employers manage homeworking.”

The new Acas homeworking guidance will help employers to:

  • identify the benefits of homeworking;
  • decide whether the job and post holder are suitable for homeworking;
  • deal with the practicalities of setting up a homeworker; and
  • manage homeworkers as part of a flexible workforce.

The guide includes advice for employers on how to set up a homeworking policy and a checklist of considerations to set up a home worker.

For more information about the right to request flexible working and to see the new Code of Practice and guidance:

To see Acas’ advice on homeworking: