The TUC has responded to the government's consultation on making flexible working the default, welcoming it but suggesting that the proposals will fail to reach the aim. The TUC sets out the reasons for this and proposes that the government introduce:
A legal duty on employers to consider which flexible working arrangements are available in a role and publish these in job advertisements, with the new postholder having a day one right to take up the flexible working arrangements that have been advertised. If an employer does not think that any flexible working arrangements are possible, they should be required to set out that no form of flexible working is suitable in the job advert and why. All roles should be deemed suitable for flexible working unless it can be shown that the unavailability of flexible working is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. Flexible working legislation would reflect objective justification as set out in the Equality Act 2010.
A day one right to request flexible working for all workers, with the criteria for rejection mirroring the objective justification set out above. Workers should have a right to appeal and no restrictions on the number of flexible working requests made.
The TUC response is available here.
TUC December 2021