The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023 was signed into law at the start of April 2023 – it has not yet taken effect. Once commenced, all employees will have a legal right to request remote working if the following criteria are met:
- You have 6 months’ continuous service with your employer.
- You submit the request at least 8 weeks before the date you intend to start the new arrangement.
Once your employer receives your request, they must:
- Respond with a decision within 4 weeks (and can be extended to 8 weeks).
- Consider your needs and the business needs when deciding upon your request.
- Provides reasoning if your request is refused.
Employers must ensure the safety, health, and welfare of employees at work, which includes employees who work from home. Employers must check that the home workspace is suitable for the work. This includes matters such as:
- Safe access to the workspace.
- Essential equipment.
- The space is big enough and free of clutter.
- There is adequate lighting, ventilation and heat, and that electrical sockets, plugs and cords are in good condition.
Finally, the 2023 Act includes:
- 5 days paid leave for victims of domestic violence.
- 5 days unpaid medical leave for carers and parents of children under 12.
- The right to request flexible working hours for parents and carers, and remote working for everyone.
- The extension of breastfeeding breaks to cover the first 2 years.
- The right to take maternity leave for transgender men.