The law on flexible working

Last updated: 05 Mar 2020

Several areas of employment legislation can be used to help improve members’ work-life balance. The law may be a useful tool to achieve good policies and successful outcomes in individual cases, but the best way of improving policies is to negotiate good agreements to suit your workplace.

The following laws may be relevant:

  • The Part-Time Workers Regulations provide for equal treatment of part-time workers.
  • The Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Flexible Working Regulations 2014 provide a right to request a change in hours or location.
  • The Children and Families Act 2014 gives all employees the statutory right to request a change to their contract terms to work flexibly as long as they have worked for the employer for 26 weeks on the date the application is made. From 30 June 2014, there is no need for an applicant for flexible working to be a carer.
  • The Equality Act 2010, which protects against discrimination on the grounds of protected characteristics.
  • The Maternity And Parental Leave Regulations, which:
    • provide the right to maternity leave and the right to return to the same or similar post after maternity leave
    • allow for up to 18 weeks unpaid leave to care for a child up to their 18th birthday.
    • provide for time off for dependents. The Employment Rights Act 1999 says you’re allowed a reasonable amount of time off to deal with the emergency, but there’s no set amount of time as it depends on the situation.
  • The Health and Safety at Work provisions will be relevant to all employees.

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