A Labour MP introduced a Flexible Working Bill under Parliament’s Ten Minute Rule. The Bill, if passed, will mean that employers must offer flexible working arrangements in worker contracts and “advertise the available types of such flexibility in vacancy notices.” This would be a day one right.

This Bill hopes to give all workers the opportunity to work flexibly from day one of their employment, except in exceptional circumstances. This is because, the Labour MP has said, flexible working arrangements should be a “right for all” and not “a perk for the few”.

If this Bill is passed, it will force workplace practices to accommodate flexible working from day one. This is something that they you already be doing due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic; if not, it is understandable that you may not want to standardise it or even be able to implement it at all.

It should be noted though, that whilst this Bill has been backed by not just other Labour MPs but also MPs from the Conservative, Liberal Democrats, Green, SNP, and DUP parties, a Private Member’s Bill is not government-backed and does not tend to be implemented unless the current Government gives its support.

Currently, people categorised as “employees” have a statutory right to request flexible working after 26 weeks of consecutive service. However, you may allow them to do so earlier. An employee can only make one statutory request once every 12 months.

It doesn’t matter which department the employee is in, anyone can make a request, and you would lawfully have to consider it.

There are two types of requests employees can make. These are:

  • Statutory flexible working requests: A request made under the law on flexible working
  • Non-statutory flexible working requests: One which isn’t made under the law on flexible working

To make a statutory flexible working request, the employee must:

  • Make the request in writing
  • State when they made their last request (if applicable)
  • State that it is a statutory request for flexible working
  • be dated
  • specify the date on which the employee would like to start flexible working
  • detail the change that is requested
  • explain the effects that the employee thinks the requested change would have on the employer’s business
  • explain how the employee thinks any such effects might be dealt with
  • state whether the employee has made a previous application for flexible working, and if so, the date that application was made.