Right to request flexible working extension to all staff expected in April 2012

Legislation extending the right to request flexible working to all staff is likely to be implemented in April 2012, according to a business plan published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The timeline for family-friendly employment legislation published in the business plan shows that the analysis of consultation responses and development of detailed plans on the extension of the right to request flexible working and “shared parental leave” to all employees will take place between April and December 2011.

With new legislation being centred annually around 6 April and 1 October, this suggests April 2012 as the most likely implementation date.

The business plan has been published as part of the coalition Government’s move to make its departmental business more transparent.

It says that its secondary legislation to extend the right to request flexible working to parents of children under 18 years old (currently applicable to parents of children under 17, or under 18 if the child is disabled) will be in place by April 2011.

The Government will then publish proposals on the extension of “shared parental leave” and the right to request flexible working to all employees in January 2011, with the consultation to be completed in March 2011.

The business plan also reveals that draft Regulations to remove the default retirement age are being prepared and will come into force in April 2011. Guidance for employers and individuals on the removal of the default retirement age will be ready in September 2011.

In addition, the Government has said that it is seeking to impose “sunset clauses” on new regulations so that they automatically expire unless positive action is taken to renew them. It will also launch a “red-tape taskforce” to identify ways of reducing the bureaucratic burden on social enterprises and small voluntary organisations.

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