How the new flexible working laws affect your business

Charlotte Goulding
April 8, 2024

On the 6th April 2024, the law around flexible working requests will change, giving millions of UK workers more flexibility on where and when they work.  However, a YouGov poll carried out earlier this year found that 45% of small-medium business leaders weren’t aware of the legal changes to flexible working practices.  Additionally, a recent Acas survey found that 7 out of 10 employees didn’t know about the changes either.  So what’s new and how will it affect you? In this blog we share the key points of the changes and help you keep your business informed.

We’ll highlight the key points from the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 and the Carer’s Leave Act 2023.

Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023

This Act may have an impact on your business as it affects all employees.  Below are the main points of change:


  • Employees who had been with your business for 26 weeks or more could request flexible working.
  • Employers had 3 months to reply to flexible working requests.
  • Employees could make 1 request in a 12 month period.


  • Employees can request flexible working from their first day and this includes requests for part-time working, flexi-time, term-time contracts, compressed hours (working the same hours over fewer days) and working from different locations.
  • Employers have 2 months to reply to flexible working requests.
  • Employees can make 2 requests in a 12 month period and no longer need to explain the impact of their proposed change.

Changes to the Carer’s Leave Act

As with the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act, the changes to the Carer’s Leave Act are now effective from the first day of employment and apply to anyone acting as carer for a dependant.  Here are some key points to know:

  •  A dependant isn’t always a family member but someone that relies on your employee for care. You can read more information on the definition of ‘dependant’ on the government’s website.
  • A carer’s employment rights, such as holiday and job security, are protected during carer’s leave.
  • Employees can take up to 1 week of unpaid leave every 12 months. This week can be taken in one go or in increments, such as days or half days throughout the year.
  • A ‘week’ is the amount of time that an employee usually works in a single week, so if they work a 4 day week they would be entitled to 4 days carer’s leave.
  • Employers  can’t refuse a request for carer’s leave but they can ask the employee to reschedule it if it would “cause serious disruption to the organisation.”  If you need to make use of this option, an employer must provide the employee with a written reason within 7 days of the original request and before the start date of the leave.

4 tips for managing the changes in your field service business

These changes obviously represent a challenge for businesses within the field service sector so the key is to create processes that help you keep track of the additional complexity.

Here are things to try:

Register for updates

Ensure that you keep up to date with all changes to protect your employees and your business.  For example, you can register with Acas, with official legislation changes and with for free emailed updates, as well as useful webinars.

Create alert reminders

These can help you keep track of things like protection from redundancy periods or reply-by dates for flexible working requests.  Set them up on devices, calendars or appropriate software.

Policy development

Develop clear policies around the new flexible working laws and how they will work within your company.  Then make sure that all sections of your workforce understand the processes they need to follow if they want to apply for them.

Making absence and flexi requests easy

Having a simple and accessible method of requesting these will make a huge difference.  If you already have a mobile app that syncs with your office software or is part of the same job management system, you can set up automations to notify a person’s manager as soon as a request is made.  To make applications easier, you might wish to offer employees access to the government standard application template.

If you’d like to find out how BigChange’s job management software can help you manage the changes and transform your workload, speak to one of our experts today!

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