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ARC LEGAL IN THE NEWS… EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS (FLEXIBLE WORKING) ACT 2023

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023, (the Act) newly introduced for England and Wales, is designed to enhance employees’ access to flexible working. Anticipated to take effect in mid-2024, the legislation will require most employers in the insurance industry to update their internal policies and procedures on flexible working to align with legal requirements.

The modifications in legislation reflect a “worldwide shift and evolving attitudes” towards flexible working, a transformation accelerated by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The updated regulations represent a positive stride for the insurance market, prioritising a human-centric approach and offering employees increased flexibility in their professional lives.

According to Arc Legal’s Chief Operating Officer Jason Logan, the increased flexibility encompassed by the Act could be a huge positive for our industry, helping us to retain talented employees in the face of a widening talent gap:

“Flexibility helps increase diversity in the workplace and as an employee gets older or approaches their retirement, they may wish to reduce their working hours. Being flexible around this means we keep valued and experienced members of staff.” – Jason

But what are some of the major changes introduced by the Act? In a new Insurance Post feature, Jason and our Head of Legal Advice, Michael Jenkins joined other industry experts to discuss the details of the new rules and how businesses must respond to them.

“Under the new legislation, many employees will be able to make a flexible working request from day one of employment and they can make two flexible working requests in any 12-month period.” – Michael

Michael continued, explaining that alongside changes to request flexible working arrangements, employees will no longer have to explain what effect the change in arrangements may have on their employer. In addition, employers must consult with their employees before a flexible working request is denied, and all requests must be responded to within two months. Employers will still have the right to reject a request, but only if the statutory process is followed.

Overall, we see this as a positive for the insurance industry, and at Arc Legal, we’ve already introduced hybrid working arrangement for our employees; but the industry will only reap the benefits if they take time to fully understand the new rules and how they can be implemented.

ACAS has published a draft Code of Practice on handling requests for flexible working, updated to include the changes introduced under the Act and to reflect current best practice, and offers guidance to employers on how they can approach flexible working under the new regulations.

To read the full article in Insurance Post, click here (subscription required).

For further information about this article, please contact your Partnerships Manager or email [email protected].

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