Workers unaware of change in law on flexible working - study

New rules set to come into force on April 6

The TUC said its survey of 2,700 adults indicated that flexible working is not available to many workers, with those in working-class jobs most likely to miss out
A survey by the conciliation Acas found seven out of 10 did not know about changes to flexible working arrangements due to come in on April 6

Most workers are not aware of a change in the law making it easier for them to request flexible working, new research has suggested.

The change comes into force on April 6 but will not apply to Northern Ireland.

A survey of 1,000 employees by the conciliation service Acas found seven out of 10 did not know about the change coming into force on April 6.

A separate survey of 1,000 employers found that two out of five were also unaware of the law change.

Staff who have worked for their employer for 26 weeks or more currently have the right to ask if they can work flexibly, but the change in the law will make this a right that applies from the first day of employment.

Acas chief executive Susan Clews said: “Our new findings reveal that most employees and more than two in five employers are unaware of the new upcoming law changes to flexible working.

“These new changes will be coming into force next week and it is important for bosses and staff to be prepared. Flexible working can bring many benefits in workplaces and the starting position should be to consider what may be possible.

“Acas has prepared a new statutory code of practice that will come into effect on April 6, which addresses the changes and sets out good practice on flexible working requests.”

The code of practice includes information on who should be allowed to accompany an employee at meetings to discuss a flexible working request, the need for transparency about reasons for rejecting a request and making it clear that employers should proactively offer an appeal where a request has been rejected.