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Employment Update for Small Businesses
August 2023

Dear subscriber

We reported in June about some new statutory entitlements being introduced by the Government to help working carers and parents, none of which have yet become law. This month we report on yet another piece of legislation relating to flexible working that has received Royal Assent but without any implementation date.

We will be updating all the relevant policies and procedures for our retained clients as part of their service, once the implementation dates are fixed. If you would like to find out about our retained service, please get in touch.

Please contact me if you would like to find out a bit more about any of the subjects raised in this update or if you need any help or advice.

Please forward this email to any of your contacts who might find it of benefit.

Peter Etherington
Tel: 01664 668164

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Peter Etherington
The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023
Making it easier for employees to request flexible working
This Act received Royal Assent on 20th July. As yet, we have no implementation date but we will keep let you know through these monthly updates once that has been established.

The Act introduces a number of changes to the current statutory right for employees to request flexible working:

  • The number of requests that can be made in any 12-month period increases from one to two
  • Employers will have two months rather than three months to respond to a request
  • There will be a requirement for the employer to consult with the employee before refusing a request (currently there is no such requirement)
  • The employee will no longer have to explain what effect they believe their request will have on the employer nor suggest how this may be mitigated (currently they must do this as part of the request process)

Some things won’t change:

  • Employees will still need at least 26 weeks’ continuous service before they can make a flexible working request
  • The employer is still able to reject a request as long as the reason for rejection is for at least one of eight permitted reasons (see below)

The 8 permitted reasons for rejection of a request are:

  • the burden of additional costs
  • a detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
  • inability to reorganise work among existing staff
  • inability to recruit additional staff
  • a detrimental impact on quality
  • a detrimental impact on performance
  • insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work
  • Planned structural changes
National Minimum and Living Wage
The current National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates are:

  • £10.42 per hour for workers aged 23 and over
  • £10.18 per hour for workers aged 21 to 22
  • £7.49 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20
  • £5.28 per hour for workers aged 16 and 17
  • £5.28 per hour for apprentices under 19 and those over 19 in their first year*

*N.B. Apprentices over 19 and who have completed at least one year are entitled to the appropriate rate for their age


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