Government launches consultation on flexible working

24 September 2021


On 23 September 2021, Government launched a consultation which contains proposals to reform The Flexible Working Regulations 2014.

Currently, employee requests to work ‘flexibly’ are made formally. Employees only have the right to request flexible working after 26 weeks’ employment.  Employers are obliged to make a decision on the request within three months, dealing with any request in a ‘reasonable manner’.

The Government consultation will look into strengthening employees’ rights in relation to flexible working and the reforms, if implemented, would make flexible working the default position unless employers had ‘good reason to refuse a request’.  The consultation discusses the option to make flexible working a day one right. 

There is, however, a risk that flexible working rights will only benefit professionals with office-based jobs. In order to ensure that the reforms benefit all workers, including those who are unable to work from home, the consultation document outlines that any changes to flexible working provisions could include;

  • Job sharing
  • Working from home
  • Part time
  • Flexitime
  • Annualised, Staggered or Compressed hours
  • Phased retirement

The consultation sets out that Government has recognised that flexible working cannot be made mandatory stating the following;

“Whilst certain ways of working may suit some employers and employees, they won’t suit all – and therefore it is important that Government does not prescribe specific arrangements in legislation but rather provides an enabling framework within which such conversations can take place openly and fairly.”

The consultation closes 1 December 2021.

Aspire comment:

There is no doubt that this consultation will receive a mixed response, however, given the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on businesses, including the major shift to home working, it is expected that many employers will be open to the proposed changes.

If you would like to discuss the flexible working processes in your organisation, give us a call on 0121 445 6178 or email us at to see how we can help support you and your business.