New flexible working rules coming this April

Flexible working is becoming more and more common in the UK, essentially allowing employees to have greater control over their work schedule and working environment. It is seen as a key tool for helping improve employee wellbeing, work-life balance and productivity.

As the new laws look set to reshape the world of employment, we take a look at some of the big changes coming in this April and what they mean for your business.

What are the new rules?

From 6 April 2024, employees in the UK legally have the right to request flexible working from the first day of employment. This includes full-time, part-time and temporary staff members.

As part of the new flexible working bill, employers should aim to accommodate requests where possible, but have the right to reject requests if there is a valid business concern.

Introducing a flexible working policy

The new rules are set to bring about a change in thinking – that businesses should look for ways to make flexible working a success, rather than ways to prevent it.

As new employees can request flexible working from day one, it’s essential to have a clear policy in place, so these requests can be answered immediately. Employees also have the right to make 2 formal requests within 12 months.

What works for another business might not work for yours, so it’s important to create a document that details the flexible working patterns you can support and your specific expectations.

Must-haves for your policy

Types of flexible working you support

To avoid potential disappointment, be clear about what your business supports. This could include:

  • Compressed hours
  • Flexi-time
  • Job sharing
  • Part-time working
  • Reduced hours
  • Remote working
  • Term-time working

Eligible roles

Think carefully about the roles which will be eligible. Consider how it will affect team dynamics and customer satisfaction.

Also, be wary that blanket banning flexible working for certain job roles can make it hard to attract top talent and cause resentment. The same goes for limiting it to lower-skilled or support roles, as this can create an unfair gender pay gap, inviting criticism.

Clear process

Make it easy to request flexible working by putting a clear procedure in place. You may need to provide managers with additional training to make sure they can fully support the application process.

HR Planner’s customers find our centralised system makes storing and finding relevant documents quick and easy, which is essential for putting a clear request procedure in place.

Transparent approvals and rejections

Businesses should commit to accommodating flexible working where possible, but there may be legitimate business reasons for refusing a request. Make sure you’re transparent and state these reasons clearly in your policy.

Reasons may include:

  • Inability to reorganise work among existing staff
  • Detrimental impact on quality or performance
  • Inability to meet customer demand
  • Insufficient work during the proposed working hours
  • Planned structural changes to the business

Set clear expectations

If your staff are working flexibly, it’s a good idea to get things off on a good foot and set out your expectations. Make sure these are reasonable and achievable to get the best results from your staff and for your business.


If flexible working is new to your business, you may feel including a trial period in your policy would be beneficial, before settling on any permanent changes.

Why you should have a flexible working policy in place

Naturally, the main reason to put a policy in place is to ensure legal compliance, under the new guidelines coming into effect in April this year.

But the reasons don’t just stop there. Consider:

Employee satisfaction

Offering flexibility for employees demonstrates a commitment to wellbeing and work-life balance. This can lead to increased job satisfaction and boosts morale.

Attract and retain talent

It can be a powerful recruitment tool, attracting top talent who value flexibility in their work arrangements. It also helps retain valuable employees who may require flexibility due to personal circumstances.

Increased productivity

Flexible working can result in increased productivity as employees are often able to work during their most productive hours and in environments where they feel most comfortable and focused.

Cost savings

Flexible working arrangements, such as remote work or compressed hours, can lead to cost savings for the business by reducing overheads associated with office space and utilities.


By accommodating diverse needs and circumstances, such as those with caring responsibilities, disabilities or health conditions, it helps to promote inclusivity.

Enhanced reputation

Companies with flexible working policies are often perceived positively by customers, investors and the wider community, enhancing their reputation as progressive and forward-thinking organisations.

Flexible working made easy with HR Planner 

HR Planner makes managing flexible working easy, with an efficient all-in-one HR tool that offers:

Versatile rotas

With our rotas feature, you can assign shifts to your team and combine this with the working patterns tool to customise schedules and see who is working each day.

Centralised document storage

HR Planner makes it quicker and easier for both employees and HR professionals to find the necessary documentation related to policies and requests.

Manage staffing levels

HR Planner helps HR departments and managers monitor and adjust staffing levels efficiently. This is crucial for ensuring that the organisation has the right number of staff available at the right times, maintaining productivity and service levels, to make these arrangements possible.

24/7 secure access from any device

Round-the-clock access from any device make sures that employees and managers can manage arrangements and access necessary documents anytime, anywhere. This feature supports the dynamic nature of flexible working and the need for accessibility outside traditional office hours.

To manage flexible working with ease, try HR Planner today with a free 14 day trial. No credit card or commitment required. For further support, please call our expert team on 01252 63 60 70 or email