What does the flexible working bill really mean for UK workers?

Does work location really matter anymore?

While workers in the U.S. have been facing compulsory return to office (RTO) mandates or harsh professional penalties for remaining remote instead of going back to the office (Dell has stated anyone who works remotely will not be eligible for promotion going forward), UK employees aren’t suffering the same fate.

What does the flexible working bill really mean for UK workers?

In fact, British businesses have tended to take a more lenient approach and in the UK, nearly half (40%) of all workers work in some form of remote capacity, for all or part of the week – writes Aoibhinn Mc Bride, Content Editor, Jobbio.

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A significant stepchange in the UK’s approach to work was introduced last April when the new Flexible Working Bill recently passed into law. Building on the existing Flexible Working Bill, this latest update means employees are now entitled to request flexible working arrangements from day one of their employment. This includes requests for part-time, term-time, flexitime, compressed hours, and varied working locations.

Key changes for employees include:

Employees will be able to make two flexible working requests in a 12-month period compared to just one.
Employees no longer need to explain what effects they feel making any requested changes would have on their company.
The new Flexible Working Bill doesn’t mean employers have to accept every request they receive. However, it does mean that they must speak to the employee who made the request before denying or accepting it, explaining the reasons behind the decision.

This Bill aims to help employees achieve the levels of flexibility they want from their current employers and help promote a more open approach.

Transparency regarding flexible working not only enhances the employee experience but also significantly contributes to strengthening an organisation’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

The new legislation benefits both employers and employees. Employers can expect to see an improvement in staff motivation and a reduction in turnover, enhancing overall productivity.

Meanwhile, employees gain more control over their work schedules and locations, contributing to a better work-life balance.

In terms of a broader impact, the legislation promises to bring approximately 2.2 million more employees within the scope of entitlement for flexible working.

A common misconception around flexible working stems from the focus on remote working alone. Flexible working includes hybrid working, four-day weeks, term-time working, part-time roles, job sharing and annual hours.

Why is this so important? Last year, around two million employees were leaving their jobs due to a lack of flexible working arrangements (albeit informal flexible-working arrangements increased during the pandemic).

Now, this updated Bill means that flexible working and all the different variations, doesn’t remain a buzzword, but becomes a viable, adaptable, and beneficial approach that can fit into virtually any industry, even fintech.

Employers willing to rethink traditional work models will attract a broader talent pool. By understanding and implementing various flexible working arrangements, they can create a more resilient, engaged, and productive workforce.

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