Acas has released a new code of practice to handle requests for flexible working.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service's new statutory Code of Practice follows changes in the law that grants all workers from their first day of employment the right to request flexible working.

The privilege was previously limited to employees who had been with their employers for 26 weeks or more.



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Acas chief executive, Susan Clews, said: "There has been a global shift to flexible working following the pandemic, which has allowed more people to better balance their working lives and employers have also benefitted from being an attractive place to work.

"Our new Code aims to foster flexible working further and covers the new law changes.

"It sets out good practice on flexible working requests and will help employers and employees avoid any pitfalls."

She added: "There are many types of flexible working such as part-time working, flexitime, job sharing, staggered hours, hybrid and homeworking.

"The starting position for businesses should be to consider what may be possible."

The updates to the regulation of statutory flexible working involve the aforementioned right to request flexible working from the first day on the job, an amendment that allows workers to make two such requests in any 12 month period instead of one, and a requirement for the employer to respond to a request after consulting the employee first.

Furthermore, the time employers are given to decide on such requests has been decreased from three to two months.

The code took shape following a consultation process in draft form last year.

A significant majority, 77 per cent, of those consulted concurred that Acas should rethink the overall good practice principles while updating the code to comply with legal alterations.

The code encourages employers to assume a positive stance towards flexible working, to guard against the unwarranted rejection of requests.

Instead, they are asked to engage in dialogue about feasible options.

Employers are urged to comply with the code as a breach could be taken into account by an employment tribunal in relevant cases.

Acas has also released guidance on flexible working requests.