Making flexible working the default – Our response to the BEIS consultation
Published: 14 Dec 2021
In Autumn 2021 the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy launched a consultation on a series of proposals to make flexible working the default employment position.
To inform our response, we drew upon the insight of our Legal Advisory Service and Employers Services Team. We heard directly from employers, and parents and carers themselves through online discussions with our Parents and Carers Panel, and two surveys to capture managers’ and employees’ views on the proposals. Roundtable meetings were also held with the Families and Work Group and our Academic Advisory Board.
Our response calls for the following:
- A day-one right to request flexible working for new employees
- Jobs to be designed and advertised as flexible unless employers have good reasons not to
- The limit on statutory flexible working requests to be changed to three a year
- Requests to be decided upon (or an implementation plan to be in place) within two months
- The new legislation to promote dialogue through the exploration of alternative options when requests cannot be met
- Employers to provide clear reasons for why requests cannot be met and for tribunals to have the powers to fully interrogate these
- Large employers to monitor their flexible working arrangements alongside their equality and diversity reporting activities The BEIS Flexible Working Taskforce to:
- Create guidance and resources to be created for employers to help handle requests
- Explore how better data could be collected on statutory requests and flexible working for evaluative purposes