The CIPD is calling on organisations and government to make the right to request flexible working a day-one right.

Flexible working practices in the UK aren’t fair. Those in lower paid, more manual occupations often don't have access to the same flexible working opportunities as those in higher paid, managerial professions.

Government consultation

On Thursday 23 September, the Government published a consultation on making the right to request flexible working a day one right for all employees. The CIPD welcomed the consultation after campaigning for this on behalf of millions of employees since launching Flex from 1st in February 2021 and responded positively to the proposed change in legislation.

We surveyed over 1,000 senior HR/decision-makers in our response to the government and found 57% were in favour of a day-one right to request flexible working. Our response also covered our key recommendations, which we believe will create fairer, more inclusive flexible working practices. These recommendations included the shortening of employer response times to requests to one month and increasing employee flexible working requests to up to twice a year. We are currently awaiting the response to the consultation and will continue campaigning for this change. 

What is Flex From 1st?

The CIPD’s Flex From 1st campaign aims to make access to flexible working arrangements more equal.

While COVID-19 has driven an increase in remote working, CIPD research has found that 46% of UK employees still do not have access to any form of flexible working in their current role, despite the many different types of flexible working arrangements available. Those without access to flexible working are around twice as likely to be dissatisfied in their job, compared to those who do.

CIPD research has also clearly identified the benefits of flexible working arrangements for employers and employees, from improved wellbeing and work–life balance to greater productivity. Take a look at our glossary of flexible working terms for more information on what each type of flexible working arrangement means.

The CIPD’s Flex From 1st campaign is encouraging employers to support flexible working for all and the right to request flexible working from day-one of employment. And we’re calling for a change to UK law to make flexible working requests a day-one right for all employees. At present, UK law states that employees can only request to work flexibly after 26 weeks of employment, with a limit of one request per 12-months. This needs to change.

Support the campaign

Your support:

Your organisation's support:

Here’s some caption inspiration to get you started – just copy and paste it into your social post:

I/We support the new @CIPD #FlexFrom1st campaign to make requesting #FlexibleWorking a day-one right! 46% of employees in Britain don’t work flexibly in their current role. This inequality must end! Join the campaign.

Support the campaign

Read first-hand experiences of flexible working

Not having the ability to work flexibly from day one, completely disadvantages women. If it’s not an option, many women end up feeling like they're trapped, as they can’t request part-time hours or flexibility from day one. As a career coach I’m talking constantly to women in this situation, women who feel like they have earned their right to work flexibly, who are stuck where they are, who stay small, who don’t get promoted and who feel like they have no other option. It’s so very unfair and it needs to change.

Joanna Lott

Career Coach, Joanna Lott Coaching

The ongoing pandemic has provided me with the chance to work more flexibly than ever before. I’ve been able to stagger my working hours, allowing me to both work and spend quality time with my young son. My wife has been able to do the same which has given us the balance we desperately needed to tackle these tough times and bond together as family, especially as we have a limited extended family here in the UK.

Suman Ganguly

Project Manager, CIPD

The escalator of promotions and opportunities had stopped for me. When I returned from maternity leave and wanted to work flexibly, I felt that put me at a disadvantage when looking for other jobs and when compared to other individuals who didn’t have that request.

Maria Cameron

Founder & Marketing Strategist, Luminous Marketing

When I first moved to fully remote working it wasn’t without its challenges. But I always knew myself that it would work, and I believe there were benefits to the company for letting me do it. Working at a senior level, but not being in the office every day and not having to constantly attend meetings, I was able to contribute more than I ever had before.

Sinead Jefferies

Founder, Vela

See CIPD resources on flexible working:

The evidence


Flexible working in the UK

Reviews the evidence on the progress of flexible working in the UK (pre-pandemic), summarises and comments on the main findings and sets out policy recommendations

Read report

Practical resources


What is flexible working?

Explores the benefits of flexible working, the types of arrangements commonly used and gives practical tips on implementing flexible working practices

Read factsheet

Read more

When you say ‘flexible working’…

The media has been using the words ‘remote’ and ‘flexible’ widely – and interchangeably – when discussing the current enforced home working. But being forced to work from your bedroom and not being allowed back to your normal working environment can in no way be described as ‘flexible’

Read blog
Topic pages

Flexible working

Guidance, practical tools and resources to help you embed flexible working in your organisation

Read more