Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023

24 January 2024 | Human Resources

Legislative Changes and Opportunities for UK Businesses in 2024

The landscape of work is changing. On 6th April 2024, the Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023 comes into force. The amendmend updates current  legislation and it is important that UK businesses prepare for the changes. 

This new legislation makes flexible working a day-one right, enhancing the work-life balance for employees and opening new opportunities for businesses. 

Read on to learn more about how the flexible working amendment impacts your business, the benefits of embracing the changes and how Dazzle’s specialist HR service can help you implement change that is effective, efficient and, crucially, compliant. 

Understanding the Legislative Changes

Before we dive into what changes you may need to implement, let’s take a look at what’s changing. 

Until 6th April 2024, flexible working legislation required an employee to have been employed for 26 weeks before you, the employer, are obliged to consider a request for flexible working. The forthcoming amendment redefines flexible working eligibility from 26 weeks to a day-one right.

In addition, employees will now have the right to make two requests for flexible working in any 12-month period – up from one under current legislation.

Finally, the flexible working amendment 2024 defines flexible working: changes in hours/shift patterns, locations such working from home, office or hybrid, and start/finish times.

Preparing Your Business for Compliance

Whilst the concept of flexible working is not particularly new, the amendment includes certain changes which will require changes within most, if not all, UK businesses in order to remain compliant from 6th April 2024. 

As an employer your priority task is to review and update your existing policies or create new ones to ensure compliance ahead of the change.

You will need to define how employee consultation will take place and indicate the factors that will be considered within the decision making process.

You do not have to wait until the amendment comes into force to make the changes. In fact, early implementation is a positive example of an employer committed to creating a positive workplace culture for their team(s).


Benefits of Flexible Working for Your Business

Flexible working is a fair more familiar concept in the aftermath of the 2020 Covid pandemic which accelerated the pace of change in businesses forced to adapt quickly in order to continue to operate during lockdown conditions. 

Since the end of Covid restrictions, businesses have varied in how flexible working has been facilitated. Some businesses have insisted that all staff return to the office regardless of their role or the practical need for office based working, whilst others have continued to support a flexible approach. 

The benefits of flexible working are many fold and include:

  • Promoting employee engagement
  • Enhanced productivity
  • Process and service innovation
  • Talent attraction
  • Skills retention
  • Employer brand reputation 
  • Becoming an employer of choice
  • Access to a previously “hidden” talent pool

Good communication is essential for the success of any business, especially when it comes to managing change for your employees. Employers who embrace flexible working practices for their teams will reap the rewards of being an open, transparent and forward-thinking workplace.

Dazzle Business support graphic summarising 6 benefits of flexible working for your business

Implementing Effective Flexible Working Policies

A comprehensive Flexible Working Policy that is compliant with the most recent legislation will help ensure that your staff understand how flexible working requests are assessed and gives assurance that the process is fair to all. 

The flexible working amendment does not mean you must approve all requests from staff. However, it does mean that you must give reasonable consideration when applications are made. 

Your policy should detail requests that cannot, under any circumstances, be accommodated due to the business’s operational requirements. For example, someone must be based at a specific location to provide face-to-face customer services. Similarly, including examples that can be easily accommodated is useful. 

When undertaking recruitment activities, you may find it a useful talent attraction tool to share your flexible working policy with potential applicants and/or make the nature of the role regarding flexible working clear in your adverts. 

Challenges and Solutions in Policy Implementation

As with any HR legislation, there is always a chance that you may face challenges from your employees at some point. Perhaps because they have been denied a flexible working arrangement that they perceive to be identical to another employee’s and feel their request has been handled less favourably.

Training your management team on administering company policies is key to applying your policy fairly and consistently across the workforce. But remember, fair and consistent does not mean “the same for everyone”.

Each application should be considered on its own merits and be treated with professional integrity and empathy. If an application cannot be approved “as is”, open communication with your employee is usually the best way to reach a mutually satisfactory compromise. Ultimately, if an application cannot be approved without damaging the business’ operational obligations, explaining the reasons behind the decision makes it more likely your employee will accept your decision. 

Dazzle Business Support can provide one-to-one or group training for your management team, which helps ensure your policies are implemented how you intend.

Flexible Working Policies by Dazzle Business Support

The HR advisors at Dazzle Business Support offer experienced people-focused HR solutions that enhance business performance and foster a positive company culture. 

We help you take your business beyond compliance to build a great reputation in the wider business world.  Our advisors can help you design and implement a policy that works for your business, delivering positive outcomes such as improved employee engagement and enhanced productivity. 

Dazzle Business Support offers versatile engagement options, from project-based support to ongoing assistance, tailored to your business’s unique needs.

Working with Dazzle Business Support

Get in touch today to learn more about how Dazzle Business Support’s Fractional HR services can help you implement and manage effective, flexible working in your business. 

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