What are some of the key obligations?
- Right to request remote working / teleworking: Employees who care for a child under 14, a person with a disability, or a person with a certain degree of dependency on term, will have the right to request remote working or teleworking. This right does not however apply to workers who are in a position of authority to “represent” the employer, for example, managers, assistant managers, agents etc. In addition, the nature of the employee’s work must enable them to work remotely, for either part of or the whole of their day, for them to be eligible to be considered for remote working / teleworking.Employers must respond to any request within 15 days either by accepting, offering an alternative, or rejecting it. Should an employer reject a proposal, they must prove that the employee’s work cannot be done remotely.
- Preferential approval of holiday: Employees who care for a child under 14, or a child under 18 who has a disability or has a certain degree of dependency on them, will have the right to request preferential use of statutory holidays or temporary adjustment to their working hours during school holidays. This is only available where an employee has submitted a valid request at least 30 days in advance.Employers must respond to any request within 10 days by accepting, offering an alternative, or rejecting it. If an employer rejects the request, they must provide a reason.
- Promotion of work-life balance: Employers will have a positive duty to inform, educate, and raise awareness on the importance of a work-life balance, including for example carrying out training sessions and updating company handbooks / policies.
So, what should employers do now?
Employers should review their current policies on remote working and teleworking and update these in consideration of their new obligations, to ensure they are compliant when these changes come into effect on 29 January 2024. If you need any support with this, or would like any further information, please get in touch with a member of the MDR ONE team.