Acas announces new suite of advice for employers on flexible working





Workplace expert Acas has today published its new Code of Practice and guidance on the right to request flexible working.


From today, all employees who have worked for their employer for 26 weeks or more will have the right to ask if they can work flexibly. This right previously only applied to the parents with children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and certain carers.


The new Code and practical guidance is designed to help employers consider any requests in a reasonable manner and stay within the law.


The guide includes advice on:


  • how employees can make a request to work flexibly;
  • how to handle a request to work flexibly and what to consider;
  • how to manage requests fairly;
  • avoiding discrimination; and
  • dealing with appeals.


Acas Chair Brendan Barber said:


“Many employers recognise that they can retain talented staff by offering a flexible approach to work and a healthy work life balance can help business success and growth.

 “Our new guide has practical examples to help businesses or employers manage flexible working requests in a reasonable way and avoid any pitfalls.


“There are many types of flexible working such as part-time working, flexitime, job sharing, shift working and homeworking. Acas has also published a new guide today to help employers manage homeworking.”


The new Acas homeworking guidance will help employers to:


  • identify the benefits of homeworking;
  • decide whether the job and post holder are suitable for homeworking; 
  • deal with the practicalities of setting up a homeworker; and
  • manage homeworkers as part of a flexible workforce.


The guide includes advice for employers on how to set up a homeworking policy and a checklist of considerations to set up a home worker.


For more information about the right to request flexible working and to see the new Code of Practice and guidance:


To see Acas’ advice on homeworking:






1. Acas has produced a new video on the right to request flexible working, which will be launched on 30 June. It features advice from Acas Head of Equality Steve Williams and SME companies talking about the benefits of flexible working. Broadcasters and online news outlets are welcome to download or clip the video for any packages/stories for 30 June. A preview can be viewed at: Broadcast quality footage can be downloaded from:

2. Acas stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. We aim to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. We help with employment relations by supplying up-to-date information, independent advice and high quality training, and working with employers and employees to solve problems and improve performance. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law. For more information, check out the Acas website:

3. The Acas helpline – 0300 123 1100 – is available from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. Advice is free and confidential so callers do not have to give their names. Research commissioned by Acas and available at, found over nine out of ten employers (96 per cent) who call the Acas helpline would recommend it to a colleague.