Flexible working guidance launched

Workplace specialists Acas has published new guidance to help employers prepare for a change in the law on flexible working.

From April 2014, all employees who have worked for their employer for 26 weeks or more will have the right to ask if they can work flexibly.

Acas has drawn up its Code of Practice and guidance on managing flexible working requests following a consultation in 2013 asking employers for their views on draft versions of the publications.

Acas chief executive Anne Sharp said on 22 January: “We have published our new draft Code and practical guidance now to help employers prepare for the changes ahead on handling flexible working requests in a reasonable manner.

“Many employers recognise that offering a flexible approach to working patterns helps attract and retain talented people and supports business success.”

The guidance includes advice on:

  • making a request to work flexibly
  • handling such requests fairly
  • avoiding discrimination
  • dealing with appeals.

The new measures will come into force on 6 April 2014. At present, employers are legally required to “consider seriously” requests to work flexibly only from employees with a child aged 16 or under, a child with disabilities aged under 18 and employees looking after an adult dependant, such as an elderly parent.

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