Government commits to change to flexible working laws

by | Dec 15, 2022

On the 5th December, the UK Government committed to implementing new regulations around flexible working

The beauty industry is characterised by its accessibility thanks to the diversity of roles available and the flexibility of these opportunities. In 2021, the Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey found that 87% of people employed in the industry were female. 

The same report shows that 54% were working full-time and 46% part-time. This is indicative of the necessity of flexible working for the beauty industry and people working in it. 

 What’s more, in a cross-industry report the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that women (55%) are more likely than men (47%) to have FWA. Further reinforcing the importance of these agreements in a sector which is reliant on a female workforce. 

With this in mind, the British Beauty Council is pleased with an announcement made by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Kevin Hollinrake MP which outlines new regulations when it comes to flexible working.

The new measures the government has committed to enshrining into law include:

  • removing the 26-week qualifying period before employees can request flexible working, making it a day-one right
  • requiring employers to consult with their employees, as a means of exploring the available options, before rejecting a flexible working request
  • allowing employees to make 2 flexible working requests in any 12-month period
  • requiring employers to respond to requests within 2 months, down from 3
  • removing the requirement for employees to set out how the effects of their flexible working request might be dealt with by their employer

The new law will be brought in as secondary legislation under the Employment Rights Act, however, a timeline for when this will begin its passage through Parliament is yet to be outlined meaning it may still be several years before the measures announced are put into practice. 

In addition to legislative action, the government will also be developing guidance to help employers and employees understand how to make and administer temporary requests for flexible working. 

Victoria Brownlie, Chief Policy Officer commented: 

‘As an industry celebrated for its flexible working benefits, we are pleased to see that such measures, which historically are most needed by women managing other caring responsibilities, will soon become normal practice. By removing some of the invisible restrictions to jobs, flexible working can create a more diverse working environment and workforce, which studies have shown leads to improved returns for business owners.’

Minister for Small Business Kevin Hollinrake said:

‘Giving staff more say over their working pattern makes for happier employees and more productive businesses. Put simply, it’s a no-brainer. Greater flexibility over where, when, and how people work is an integral part of our plan to make the UK the best place in the world to work.’

You can find out more about the announcement here.

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