Upcoming changes to statutory flexible working legislation

Details of the legislation changes to flexible working requests for England, Scotland and Wales.

8 March 2024

From 6 April 2024, the Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023 (SI 2023/1328) will remove the current requirement for employees to have at least 26 weeks' continuous service, which means employees have the statutory right to make a flexible working application from day one of employment. 

The NHS Terms and Conditions of Service (TCS) Handbook was updated in September 2021 to allow for the day one right to request flexible working.  The NHS was leading the way in taking a proactive approach ahead of the statutory requirements and setting a new standard. 

Also on 6 April 2024, we expect the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 to come into force which will include changes to some of the rules on statutory flexible working requests, including:

  • Allowing employees to make two statutory flexible working requests every 12 months (the current limit is one). 
  • Reducing the time limit for employers to deal with statutory flexible working requests from three to two months (although this can be extended by agreement with the employee). 
  • Requiring employers to consult an employee before refusing a request. 
  • Removing the need for employees to explain the effect of the proposed change or how that could be dealt with when making a request. 

Following these changes, see the updated flexible working guidance. 

Next steps for employers  

Employers will need to review local policies and procedures in partnership with staff sides to ensure compliance with the legislation changes.   

Further information