Understanding the 2024 Flexible Working Bill

By Kate, Director of Communications, Campaigns and Research • 2 April 2024

On 6 April 2024, a new law came in which changed the rights we all have to flexible working.

This should make things better for young women who tell us how important flexible working is to them. Though the law could still be made even stronger.

Young women tell us about the policies and laws that would make their lives better. We bring that evidence to politicians and decision makers who have the power to make changes. We know young women need better rights to flexible working, so this Bill is a welcome milestone.

What is the Flexible Working Bill?

The Bill makes it much easier to request flexible working, such as changes to your hours or place of work.

Having more flexible work helps young women in many ways. It’s particularly important for young women with health conditions or caring responsibilities. Better flexible working rights could mean more and better jobs for these young women.

Your rights under the Flexible Working Bill

• You will be able to ask for flexible working from your first day in a new job (instead of after working there for 6 months)
• You will be able to make two flexible working requests per year (instead of just one)
• You won’t have to explain how working flexibly will affect your employer
• You will have the chance to discuss your request with your employer before they decide – so it should be easier to find an agreement that works for you
• You will get a decision in two months or less (under the old rules, you could have to wait up to three months)

There’s more work to be done

While these new rules are an improvement, they could be even better. We’d like to see:

• The right to request flexible working from the job interview stage. Having to wait till you start in a job to make a request is too big a risk for young women who need flexibility. It makes it harder for them to move jobs.
• A duty on employers to say what flexible working options are when they advertise jobs.
• More support and guidance for employers of jobs such as carers, shop staff and bar workers. These jobs can be less flexible than office work to develop flexible working options.

There are lots of great employers who are already doing these things. We’re encouraging more companies to work with us to improve their workplaces for young women.

Helping employers take action

If you want to know more about your rights at work, have a look at our rights at work information.