Two work-life consultations launched

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Bis) have launched consultations on extending the right to request flexible working, and the administration process for shared parental leave and pay, respectively.

The Bis consultation, Modern workplaces: shared parental leave and pay – administration consultation, which will close on 20 May 2013, sets out proposals on how shared parental leave and pay will work in practice.

It aims to enable both parents to retain a strong link with the labour market, and encourage more fathers to play a greater role in their children’s lives.

The Acas consultation, meanwhile, is seeking views on a draft code of practice on the extended right to request flexible working arrangements. It is looking to hear from employers and employers, particularly small organisations that often do not have HR functions or support, and may face challenges in managing flexible working requests.

Under government proposals, which were announced in November 2012, the right to request flexible working will be extended to all employees who have worked for their employer for 26 weeks or more. Employers will be obliged to consider all requests.

The current statutory procedure will be repealed and the government has asked Acas to produce a code of practice to help employers manage this new extended right.

The draft code is designed to offer short, practical advice to make it as easy as possible for employers to handle requests and fit them to their specific circumstances and procedures.

Acas will also produce a non-statutory good practice guide with practical examples of managing flexible working requests in the workplace. This will be published alongside the final code.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks and close on 20 May 2013.

Ed Sweeney, chair of Acas said: “This draft code will make it easier for employers to be fair in considering requests to work flexibly, which helps to maintain good working relationships and minimise discrimination.”