Making Flexible Working the Default

Closed 1 Dec 2021

Opened 23 Sep 2021


This consultation seeks views from individuals and businesses on proposals to reform flexible working regulations (The Flexible Working Regulations 2014).

In 2003, legislation came into force which provided parents and certain other carers with a right to request a flexible working arrangement, which covers work location, working hours and working pattern. In 2014, this right to request a flexible working arrangement was extended to all employees with 26 weeks continuous service.

This consultation seeks to go further, and the proposals within would affect both employers who receive flexible working requests and individuals who are looking to change their contracted working arrangements.

The territorial extent of these proposals extends to England, Wales, and Scotland. Employment law is devolved to Northern Ireland.

Why your views matter

Flexible working covers a range of working arrangements around the time, place and hours of work.

Empowering workers to have more say over where and when they work makes for more productive businesses, and happier employees. Flexible working allows employees to balance their work and home life: including helping people manage childcare commitments or other caring responsibilities.

It can also be key to ensuring that people who are under-represented in the workforce, such as new parents or disabled people, have access to more employment opportunities.  

Alongside benefits to workers, there is a compelling business case for flexible working. Businesses report that flexible working is beneficial, particularly when it comes to attracting more applicants from a wider pool of talent – and increasing productivity and employee motivation.

For both these individual and business reasons, the 2019 manifesto committed to issuing this consultation on measures to help make flexible working the default unless employers have good reasons not to. Please do take the time to consider the consultation and the questions it poses.


  • SMEs (small and medium businesses)
  • Large businesses (over 250 staff)
  • Trade bodies
  • Legal representative
  • Medium business (50 to 250 staff)
  • Micro business (up to 9 staff)
  • Small business (10 to 49 staff)
  • Trade union or staff association
  • Employment lawyers
  • Businesses
  • Individual employees
  • HR professionals
  • Parents
  • General public
  • Older people
  • Younger people
  • Disability groups
  • Charities


  • Economic growth
  • Workplace rights
  • Flexible working
  • Innovation
  • Regulation and red tape
  • Productivity
  • Regulation