Following consultation, new legislation will make flexible working the default.
Millions of employees will be able to request flexible working from day one of their employment, under new government plans to make flexible working the default.
This could include hybrid working between home and office, flexitime, job-sharing or compressed hours.
Minister for Small Business Kevin Hollinrake said: “Giving staff more say over their working pattern makes for happier employees and more productive businesses. Put simply, it’s a no-brainer.
Greater flexibility over where, when, and how people work is an integral part of our plan to make the UK the best place in the world to work.”
The day one right to request flexible working will be delivered through secondary legislation.
If an employer cannot accommodate a request to work flexibly, they will be required to discuss alternative options before they can reject the request. For example, if it is not possible to change an employee’s working hours on all days, they could consider making the change for certain days instead.
The new legislation, backed in the government’s response to the Making flexible working the default consultation, will also remove the requirement for employees to set out the effects of their flexible working requests to employers, removing a large administrative burden for both sides.
Today’s announcement comes alongside new laws coming into effect that will allow Britain’s lowest paid workers to boost their income through extra work.
Workers on contracts with a guaranteed weekly income on or below the Lower Earnings Limit of £123 a week will now be protected from exclusivity clauses being enforced against them, which restricted them from working for multiple employers.
These reforms will ensure around 1.5 million low paid workers can make the most of the opportunities available to them such as working multiple short-term contracts.
While not everyone will want a second job, today’s laws on exclusivity clauses remove unnecessary red tape that prevents those who do – for example gig economy workers, younger people, or carers who cannot commit to a full-time role. The laws will also help businesses plug crucial staffing gaps by giving employers access to recruit from a wider talent pool.
The measures the government is committing to in full will: