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UK: last model of Acas versatile working code revealed

Acas has revealed a revised model of its up to date statutory code on coping with versatile work requests, for parliamentary approval. It’s anticipated to be introduced into power in April 2024 together with the adjustments to the versatile working request regime (mentioned right here).  A variety of the adjustments from the preliminary draft code issued for session final yr are merely reordering of the textual content;  adjustments to notice embrace:

  • it’s now made clear that the requirement to seek the advice of the worker earlier than making a choice on a versatile work request doesn’t apply if the employer goes to agree the request in full. The reference to a pre-decision assembly being good apply for agreed requests has been changed with a requirement to supply the worker the chance for a dialogue to make clear to make clear any additional info that could be useful in implementing the agreed association, doubtlessly together with setting dates to overview how the preparations are working.  The dialogue ought to be recorded in writing if the worker takes up the provide;  a dialogue doesn’t must happen if each events agree it’s pointless;
  • the code is now extra express that, if the employer is unable to agree a request in full, it ought to focus on potential modifications with the worker (the preliminary model merely famous that it could be doable to agree a request with modifications); a reference to the potential of a trial interval to evaluate feasibility has additionally been added;
  • the code now expressly states that there is no such thing as a statutory proper for the worker to enchantment a choice, nor to be accompanied, however that each are good apply; it additionally now reminds employers that an correct written report of any enchantment assembly ought to be made;
  • the code now recommends {that a} completely different supervisor ought to be appointed to deal with an enchantment ‘wherever doable’ – the preliminary draft restricted this to ‘bigger organisations’;
  • the code now not means that if a request pertains to changes for incapacity it ought to be handled individually; as a substitute the code simply notes that the 2 authorized obligations are separate;
  • the sections on how the versatile work regime will work together with the fitting to request a predictable work sample have been eliminated (reflecting that the latter will no longer come into power on the identical time – they don’t seem to be anticipated till Autumn 2024).

ACAS will even produce non-statutory steering to accompany the code and publish a full response to the session.

The statutory regime for versatile work requests features a basic obligation to take care of a statutory request ‘in an affordable method’; tribunals are required to take the statutory code under consideration the place related, which can embrace when contemplating what quantities to an affordable method in a specific case.

Employers will now must plan updating their versatile work request insurance policies in time for six April 2024.  After all it has at all times been greatest apply to correctly think about versatile working requests (even when not compliant with the statutory regime) to keep away from potential discrimination claims (for which compensation is uncapped, and subsequently doubtlessly a lot bigger than the 8 weeks’ capped pay that may be awarded underneath the versatile work request regime).  The adjustments to the fitting to request (permitting requests from day one among employment, and two requests a yr) may imply a rise in requests and subsequently an elevated danger of dealing with linked discrimination claims (for instance, refusals of requests to work at home may in some instances be oblique intercourse, incapacity or age discrimination).

Anna Henderson


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