The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act


Everything that employers in Scotland need to know about the Employment Relations Act 2023.

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act is due to come into effect for employers throughout Scotland and the rest of UK in 2024. Here is what you need to know about the new legislation and how you can prepare your organisation.

What will the Employment Relations Act 2023 mean for Scottish employers?
This new act will make a number of changes to employment law with regards to flexible working. These changes include:

  • All employees will be able to request flexible working from day one in their employment.
  • Employees will be able to ask for changes to their hours, working times or work location.
  • Changes to flexible working arrangements can be requested twice a year.
  • The onus will now be on the employer to think about how to make a flexible working request work.
  • Employers will need to respond to a flexible working request within two months.
  • An employer will have to consult with the employee if they want to refuse a request.

Is that everything?
Regulations and Guidance for this new act will outline how this law will work in practice.

This information will be issued in due course and we will update this page as soon as we have it.

How will this benefit working carers?
These changes will be particularly beneficial for working carers as it will help them to work in a way which fits around their caring responsibilities. The ability to request changes to existing arrangements twice a year is particularly useful as sometimes a person’s caring circumstances can change.

What is a carer?
A carer is someone who helps to look after a friend or family member who has a disability, illness, mental health condition, addiction or needs extra help as they grow older.

Being a carer is separate from caring for a child, unless that child has a disability or additional needs.

When will these changes come into effect?
We do not yet have a confirmed date for when the Employment Relations Act 2023 will commence, however we expect it to be some time in 2024.

Check back here and we will update the date as soon as we have it.

I am a Scottish employer, where can I get help with this?
We can help you! Carer Positive works with employers throughout Scotland to help them develop workplace support that will benefit members of staff who are carers. We can advise you on a flexible working policy, as well as other types of support for members of staff who have caring responsibilities.

What else does Carer Positive do?
Employers in Scotland providing workplace support for carers can also become recognised with a Carer Positive Award. This nationally recognised award will enhance your reputation as an "employer of choice", as well as granting you full access to our range of information and resources, including reports, training resources, information and networking events.

Carer Positive is a project funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by Carers Scotland (which is part of Carers UK). It does not cost anything to work with us or become a Carer Positive accredited employer, making the scheme accessible for organisations of all sizes, sectors and locations throughout the country.

I am an UK employer but do not operate in Scotland, can you still help?
Unfortunately we are only able to work with Scottish employers or UK employers who have staff in Scotland, however you can alternatively get in touch with our colleagues at Carers UK.

What do I do next?

  • Contact the Carer Positive team by emailing
  • Check out the rest of our website to find out more about the benefits of creating a supportive workplace for working carers.