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Insight

Extended right to request flexible working delayed

Nick Thorpe
03/02/2014
The extended right to request flexible working, which was due to be introduced in April 2014, has been delayed. When in force, the extended right will give all employees with at least 26 weeks' The extended right to request flexible working, which was due to be introduced in April 2014, has been delayed. When in force, the extended right will give all employees with at least 26 weeks' continuous employment the right to request to work flexibly.

As many of you will know, the current right only applies to employees with caring responsibilities for a child (under 17 years old, or 18 years old if the child is disabled) or certain adults (such as a partner or a relative, or a cohabitee).

The revised implementation date for the extended right is not yet known. However, ACAS has now published its final draft Code of Practice for handling flexible working requests. ACAS has also published a good practice guide to supplement the Code.

The Code replaces the current statutory procedure and provides a "principle-based" approach, with the aim of enabling employers to manage requests in a reasonable manner. While the majority of respondents to the ACAS consultation thought the new Code allowed them to use their existing policies in managing the extended right to request flexible working, the new Code does differ in a number of material ways to the current procedure and employers should take the opportunity (if they have not done so already) to review their existing flexible working policy to take account of the new Code and good practice guidance before the new right is introduced.

We are currently updating a number of businesses' flexible working policies to take account of the changes. Therefore, if you would like more information on the changes to the statutory right to request to flexible working, including the new Code and good practice guidance, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Employment and Pensions team.

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