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  • Writer's pictureSusan Wakelin

Flexible Working

ACAS Consultation and Code Updates to Handling Requests


Flexible working, or ‘Flexitime’ as it is called colloquially, was semi-established prior to Covid19, and is a way of working that ‘suits an employee’s needs, for example flexible start/finish times, or working from home,’ (Gov.uk, August 2023).

Flexible Working

Employees have had the legal right to request flexible working, not just parents and carers, since 2014 – however, further updates are on the horizon, and this is something all employers should consider.


Types of Flexible Working


Flexible Working comes in a variety of forms, such as:

  • Flexi: completing contracted hours when the employee chooses. Great for those who have other obligations like parents or carers.

  • Compressed hours: a shorter work week, or reallocating the same hours.

  • Staggered hours: working within the office setting, but at a different time to your co-workers.

  • Location: working from home, from an office with a shorter commute, or a hybrid approach.

  • Job sharing: splitting the workload and hours of one role between multiple employees.

  • Part-time: the most common use of Flexible Working.

  • Annualised Hours: working a fixed number of hours annually, but available to spread out differently on each individual day.

  • Shift-swapping: interchanging shifts with co-workers as needed.


Statutory Code of Practice


ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) are updating their statutory Code of Practice to provide employers, employees and representatives with a clear explanation of the law alongside good practice on handling future requests.


The CIPD Flexible Working report found that 87% of people want to be able to work flexibly, with an increased 43% revenue produced by employees using one of the above working structures (globalization-partners.com, August 2023). With this in mind, a more positive approach to Flexible Working has been fostered, and ACAS continue to endorse this working environment.


ACAS Consultation


ACAS have launched a consultation on the updates which can be found on the ACAS website, with Chief Executive, Susan Clews, saying:

"Rapid advances in technology alongside changes to the way many people now work since the Covid-19 pandemic have contributed to a substantial shift in flexible working globally. It has allowed more people to balance their working lives and employers have also benefitted from being an attractive place to work for skilled staff that value flexibility." – ACAS, August 2023

As part of a series of anticipated law reforms, Flexible Working is currently being considered by Parliament and expected to come into force next year. And with the consultation on ACAS’s Code of Practice Update closing on the 6th of September, employers are encouraged to engage with this approach with positivity, taking the requests with due consideration and open dialogue. The consultation includes information on:

  • Who should be allowed to accompany an employee at meetings to discuss a request.

  • Advocating transparency about reasons for rejecting a request.

  • Guidance that employers should proactively offer an appeal where a request has been rejected.

If this is something you’re concerned about, or you’d like to take proactive steps to provide your employees with the clarity of options regarding Flexible Working, contact me at SWan HR today.


SWan HR Consultancy (London and Kent)


SWan HR is an HR consultancy that specialises in HR support for small to medium sized businesses in the South East.

"Where HR Succeeds, the Business Achieves"

SWan HR was founded by Susan Wakelin, MCIPD, who is a qualified HR professional with over thirty years' experience, from setting up, auditing and improving HR functions to management coaching and supporting organisations through difficult situations, transformation and change.


SWan HR provides a broad range of tailored HR services including an HR audit, HR advice, HR outsourcing, HR coaching and project work for all businesses.


Free HR consultation


Contact Susan Wakelin now to take advantage of a free half-hour consultation to talk through your initial HR concerns and how you can manage these going forward.


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