We are sharing this update from ACCA, our professional body, for the interest of clients and contacts. The content is (c) ACCA

Research by Acas also finds low level of awareness among almost half of employers

From 6 April 2024, new laws give UK employees the right to ask their employers if they can work flexibly from the first day of their employment (previously only allowed after 26 weeks of continuous employment). Additionally, employees can make two flexible working requests every 12 months (up from once a year).

However, research conducted by YouGov for Acas has found that 70% of employees and 43% of employers are unaware of the law change.

Flexible working is a broad term that covers when, where and how someone works. It includes part-time working, home working, hybrid working, flexitime, job sharing, compressed hours, annualised hours, term-time working and team-based rostering.

Acas has produced a revised code of practice on requests for flexible working to support employers and employees through this change and other reforms, which will be introduced on 6 April 2024 when the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 comes into force.

The Acas code of practice on requests for flexible working 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, making it clear that employers should proactively offer an appeal where a request has been rejected.

Demand for flexible working is high

A new study by Currys has found that four in ten Brits (43%) say that they won’t even apply for a job role that’s not flexible. Nearly half (49%) of desk workers say their desire for a flexible role has increased since the pandemic. However, according to Timewise Flexible Jobs Index, only 31% of job advertisements included a mention of part-time or flexible working options in 2023.

The Currys study has identified the employment sectors where remote working is most common:

  • IT, where 29% of jobs are remote
  • financial services (21%)
  • sales (16%)
  • marketing and media (10%)
  • engineering (9%)
  • legal (6%)
  • administration (4).