Legislation allowing all employees the right to request flexible working was due to be implemented on 6 April. However, owing to a delay in the passage of the Children and Families Bill, it currently does not have an implementation date.
The Bill is now due to receive Royal Assent on 21 March, which does not allow enough time to implement necessary secondary legislation in time for 6 April.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said the extension to right to request legislation will be brought in on “an appropriate date as soon as possible this year”. A spokeswoman for BIS could not say if this would be before or after the summer parliamentary recess.
Sarah Jackson, chief executive of charity Working Families, said she was “saddened that the legislation timetable hasn’t worked in our favour”.
“It will disappoint people who were readying their application for April, but hopefully there won’t be too much inconvenience to people. We have reassured the business lobby all along that the floodgates won’t open,” she said. Jackson added that she is confident the government is committed to the extension, which was a manifesto pledge.
Anna Fletcher, director at law firm Wragge & Co, said: “It’s important to bear in mind this is just a procedural delay. There is no room for complacency, the extension to the right to request flexible working will be implemented. This delay does however provide employers with more time to review and revise policies and procedures, brief managers and prepare for change”.
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