The Government has released its response to the Consultation on 'Making Flexible Working the Default'. There was widespread support for the proposals and the Government will take further steps to encourage and support flexible working.

The Government has released its responses to the September 2021 Consultation on 'Making Flexible Working the Default'.

Responses to the consultation:

  • Recognised the importance of flexible working.
  • Emphasised that flexible working was important to employers and employees as it would:
    • Improve access to employment and reduce gender pay gaps.
    • Support fathers and older people with their work/life balance.
    • Help attract and keep people in work.
  • Supported making statutory requests for flexible working a right from the first day of employment.
  • Provided feedback on the eight existing reasons to refuse a flexible work request varied, while the overall majority favoured a reduction of the list of refusal reasons, 63% of employers supported the existing list.
  • 94% of respondents supported the principle that employers should be required to consider alternative arrangements when refusing a statutory flexible working request to encourage negotiation balancing employee preference and business needs.
  • 74% of respondents supported increasing the number of permitted statutory flexible working requests from one.
  • Highlighted there was limited awareness that time-limited flexible working requests could be made.

Following the consultation, the Government will:

  • Make statutory requests for flexible working a day one right.
  • Retain the current list of business reasons to refuse a request for flexible working.
  • Require employers to consult employees before rejecting a statutory flexible working request.
  • Increase the number of statutory flexible working requests an employee can make to two per 12-month period and reduce the time an employer has to respond to two months.
  • Remove the requirement for employees to set out how flexible working requests may be dealt with by their employer.
  • Increase guidance and awareness surrounding the ability to make temporary requests for flexible working.
  • Issue a call for evidence to gather information on informal flexibility which may be required by workers.

Useful guides on this topic

Working from home (employer/ee)
What expenses can employees claim for homeworking? Are the rules the same for the self-employed? How do you make a claim?

Working from home (directors)
What expenses can I claim for working from home? The same rules apply to home-working directors as other employees.

Creating an office at home or converting part of a home into an office
Many company owners work from home. This guide looks at how you may obtain tax relief on the cost of converting the spare room or building a deluxe summerhouse to serve as an office in the garden.

Homeworking rates and allowances
What tax-free allowances are there for working from home? What allowances can be paid to homeworking employees?

COVID-19: Employees working from home
Working from home: a guide for employees working from home due to Coronavirus.  

New consultation on ‘Making flexible working the default’
The government has opened a new consultation ‘Making flexible working the default unless employers have good reasons not to’ which seeks views on proposals to reform flexible working regulations as part of their ‘Build Back Better’ approach to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

External Links

Consultation Responses: Making Flexible Working the Default

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