05 Dec 2022
by Nimmi Patel

techUK win: Making flexible working the default

Employees can now ask for flexible working from day one under new government plans to make flexible working the default, as techUK recommended.

The UK government has announced that millions of employees will receive day one right to request flexible working, empowering workers to have a greater say over when, where, and how they work.

techUK and its members have previously highlighted that they are supportive of the suggestion that the Right to Request Flexible Working should be available to all employees from their first day of employment. However, it should be noted that some roles cannot be done at home, such as retail roles or on-site infrastructure roles.

The tech industry has seen the conversation on flexible working shift due to the pandemic, but wants to stress that this definition of flexible working is quite wide. Flexible working does not only mean working from home but also includes: job shares; compressed hours; part-time concessions; remote, hybrid, and digital-nomad models that are entering the mainstream of ways of working. techUK believes that companies should define flexible and hybrid working with regard to their specific organisational context.

Government is committing to:

  • make the right to request flexible working a day one right
  • introduce a new requirement for employees to consult with the employee when they intend to reject their flexible working request
  • allow 2 statutory requests in any 12-month period (rather than the current one)
  • require a decision period of 2 months in respect of a statutory flexible working request (rather than the current three)
  • remove the existing requirement that the employee must explain what effect, if any, the change applied for would have on the employer and how that effect might be dealt with
  • developing guidance to raise awareness and understanding of how to make and administer temporary requests for flexible working
  • launching a call for evidence to better understand how informal flexible working operates in practice.

The government's consultation recognised that flexible working is different for every employee, employer, and sector – it does not come in one size only. For an office worker, they may benefit from a job-share so they can better care for their children, or a factory worker may request different shift patterns that suit their balance between home and work.

Because of this, the government will not instruct employers or employees on how to carry out their work, instead we encourage both parties have constructive and open-minded conversations about flexible working and find arrangements that work for each side.

techUK is glad to see its recommendations being put into action.


Nimmi Patel

Nimmi Patel

Head of Skills, Talent & Diversity, techUK

Nimmi Patel is the Head of Skills, Talent and Diversity at techUK.

She works on all things skills, education, and future of work policy, focusing on upskilling and retraining. Nimmi is also an Advisory Board member of Digital Futures at Work Research Centre (digit). The Centre research aims to increase understanding of how digital technologies are changing work and the implications for employers, workers, job seekers and governments. She is also a member of Chatham House's Common Futures Conversations

Prior to joining the team, she worked for the UK Labour Party and New Zealand Labour Party, and holds a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Manchester and holds an MA Strategic Communications at King’s College London.

[email protected]

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