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​​HR Seminar: Changes to Flexible Working Requests

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​HR Seminar: Changes to Flexible Working Requests

C&C’s third event in our 2024 HR series clarified the recent legal amendments to flexible working requests and debated the risks and opportunities around denying and approving those requests from a business’ perspective.

We are hugely grateful to Kevin Poulter (Employment Law Partner, Freeths LLP) and Sally Miles (Head of HR, Impax Asset Management) for joining our very own Elspeth Shaw as co-hosts, bringing invaluable experience and insights to the conversation. Kevin framed the discussions by presenting the practicalities and expectations of the legal changes, with Sally running through what the HR implications might be and how HR professionals can mitigate potential risks.

To provide a framework for this post-discussion article, here is a brief outline of the changes:

  • Employee requests for flexible working can be made on the first day of employment

  • Employees are no longer required to suggest how businesses might incorporate their request into the current system

  • Employers must consult with the employee about their request

  • Employers must respond within 2 months

The inclination to interchange hybrid working with flexible working was swiftly ironed out and other types of flexible working were defined; part time working, job sharing, flexi hours, staggered hours, phased retirement and phased ‘work returners’. Immediately, it was clear that the apprehension around the topic is in part due to the variety of flexible working options so that HR and line managers in turn have a challenging task defining policies against individualised requests which often blur any pre-defined options.