British employees will be able to request flexible work from day one, while employers would not be able to blow them off so easily
LONDON, ENGLAND — More British employees could find themselves working remotely at least part of the time in the future thanks to a new bill that would give them the right to request flexible working from their very first day on the job.
Even further, this new law — if passed, as the government pledges it will be — would make it more difficult for businesses to deny their workers the right to work flexibly without good reason.
The right to request flexible work from day one has long been advocated for by groups such as the Trade Union Congress (TUC), which argued that it would improve employee rights.
Previously, employees had to wait 26 weeks before they could request flexible work — upon which time hundreds of workers claimed employers would simply deny the request right away.
Going forward, however, workers will no longer have to wait to submit their request. They will also be able to submit two flexible working requests in any 12-month period.
As for employers, if they “cannot accommodate a request to work flexibly, they will be required to discuss alternative options before they can reject the request”.
While the new law has yet to take effect, the UK government, in a statement, sought to assure that “it is supporting the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill throughout its journey in Parliament”.
Benefits of flexible work touted
An official statement from the UK government on the matter boasted, “Millions of employees will receive day one right to request flexible working, empowering workers to have a greater say over when, where, and how they work.”
The UK government also highlighted that flexible work does not refer only to remote or hybrid working, but also to “job-sharing, flexitime and working compressed, annualised or staggered hours”.
“Flexible working has been found to help employees balance their work and home life, especially supporting those who have commitments or responsibilities such as caring for children or vulnerable people.”
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