Acas consults on flexible working code of practice

Acas has launched a consultation on a draft Code of Practice on the extended right to request flexible working.

Under the Government’s proposals, announced in November last year, the right to request flexible working will be extended to all employees who have worked for their employer for 26 weeks or more. Employers are obliged to consider all requests in a reasonable manner.

The current statutory procedure will be repealed and the Government has asked Acas to produce a Code of Practice to help businesses manage this new extended right.

Acas is seeking views from employees and employers, particularly small businesses who it says often don’t have HR support and may face challenges in managing flexible working requests.

Acas says the draft Code is designed to offer short, practical advice to make it as easy as possible for employers to handle requests and fit them to their specific circumstances and procedures.

Chair of Acas Ed Sweeney said: “This draft Code builds on our knowledge and expertise across all workplace issues. It will make it easier for employers to be fair in considering requests to work flexibly which helps to maintain good working relationships and minimise discrimination.

“We’re very keen to hear views on the draft Code from anyone who has an interest in flexible working.”

Acas will also produce a non statutory good practice guide with practical examples of managing flexible working requests in the workplace. This will be published alongside the final Code.

In producing the Code Acas has sought advice from employer representatives, unions and charities.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks and closes on 20 May 2013. Responses can be submitted by email or letter – email address is [email protected].

The Government has also just launched its consultation on the administration process for shared parental leave and pay as part of its commitment to create a modern workplace for the modern economy. The consultation will seek views on how the new system will work and fit together with current arrangements for maternity and paternity leave and adopters.

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