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Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023


The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 provides employees and other workers with the right to request variations to specific terms and conditions of their employment, including working hours, times, and locations. The Act seeks to promote flexible working arrangements and create a more balanced work-life environment for employees, giving them the opportunity to better manage their personal and professional responsibilities.

Key Requirements of the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 include:

  • Amendment to Section 80F of the Employment Rights Act 1996: The Act amends Section 80F to limit the number of applications an employee can make to request flexible working arrangements to two per employer within any 12-month period. It also prevents an employee from submitting a new application while another application is already being processed.
  • Defining “Concluded” for Applications and Appeals: The Act introduces a clear definition of when an application or appeal is considered “concluded.” This includes scenarios where a decision is made on the application or appeal, the application or appeal is withdrawn, an agreement is reached, or the specified decision period ends without any action.
  • Amendment to Section 80G of the Employment Rights Act 1996: Section 80G is amended to require employers to consult with the employee before refusing their application for flexible working. Employers must engage in meaningful discussions with employees regarding their requests, fostering open communication and understanding.
  • Reduced Decision Period: The Act reduces the decision period within which employers must respond to flexible working applications from three months to two months. This change is aimed at providing a quicker resolution for employees seeking flexible work arrangements.
  • Retroactive Application: The amendments made by the Act apply to both current and future employees, regardless of when their employment or contract began. Any application made by an employee before the Act’s commencement but still pending at the time of commencement will be included in the number of applications permitted within the 12-month period.

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 was passed on 20th July 2023.

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 applies to the following countries:

  • United Kingdom;
  • England;
  • Scotland;
  • Wales; and
  • Northern Ireland.
employment relations act

Does the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 affect my business?

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 is expected to have several effects on businesses operating in England, Wales, and Scotland:

  • Enhanced Work-Life Balance: By granting employees the right to request flexible working arrangements, businesses can foster a more positive work-life balance for their workforce. This can lead to increased job satisfaction, improved mental well-being, and reduced burnout, ultimately enhancing employee retention rates.
  • Increased Productivity: Flexible working arrangements can result in higher productivity levels as employees have the flexibility to choose work hours and locations that suit their individual preferences and lifestyles.
  • Attracting Talent: Companies that embrace flexible working are likely to attract a broader talent pool as prospective employees seek employers that value work-life balance and offer flexible arrangements.
  • Adaptability: Businesses that implement flexible working practices are more adaptable to changing circumstances, such as emergencies, weather-related disruptions, or unexpected events.

Businesses that embrace the Act’s provisions can expect to benefit from a more engaged and productive workforce, improved employee retention, and increased attractiveness to potential hires. While businesses may need to make adjustments to accommodate flexible working requests, the long-term benefits are likely to outweigh the challenges, creating a more adaptable and employee-centric work environment.

Do I need the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 in my ISO Compliance Register?

You will need the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 in your ISO Compliance Register if your business falls under one or more of the following categories:

  • Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs): SMEs may find the Act particularly beneficial in retaining and attracting talent, as they can compete with larger corporations by offering flexible working arrangements.
  • Large Corporations: Large corporations with a sizeable workforce may need to adapt their HR policies and procedures to accommodate employee requests for flexible working.
  • Startups and Tech Companies: Startups and technology-focused companies may already have a flexible working culture, but the Act can further formalize and reinforce such practices.
  • Service Industries: Businesses in service industries, such as hospitality, retail, and healthcare, will need to consider how to implement flexible working arrangements while ensuring continuity of services.
  • Remote Work-Based Companies: Companies that rely heavily on remote work or telecommuting may find the Act aligns with their existing practices.

Legislation related to the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023

Legislation related to the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 include:

  • Employment Rights Act 1996
  • Employment Act (Northern Ireland) 2016
  • Employment Agencies Act 1973
  • Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018

More information

Visit the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 article on the website.

Create an account in the ISO Compliance Register App and add this article to your Register.