In light of the significant shift in flexible working practices and upcoming reforms to legislation to make flexible working a day-one right, Acas consulted on its Code of Practice to provide employers and employees with a clear explanation of the law, alongside good practice advice on handling requests in a reasonable manner. The CIPD welcomes an updated Code of Practice that reflects shifting attitudes towards flexible working and good practice principles. To help with our response, we conducted a focus group of CIPD members.
Overall, the updated Code of Practice reflects the possibilities and opportunities of flexible working by outlining the benefits to both employers and employees across a range of sectors, occupations and organisation sizes.
A significant change to the Code relates to the new legal requirement on an employer to consult with an employee before they may refuse a flexible working request. Even when an employer plans to accept a flexible working request, we think it’s helpful to offer an employee a meeting to discuss any questions an employee or the employer might have and to ensure the new flexible working arrangement gets off to the best possible start. When a request is rejected, the Code should recommend, where it’s reasonable and possible to do so, that employers provide any additional information to help explain why.
The Code should also include a section about the right to request a predictable work pattern, if that right is introduced, as the right to request flexible working and the right to request a predictable work pattern are interrelated in respect of how many requests an employee may make in any 12-month period.
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