UK: Flexible Working Model Will Not Apply to Financial Services

The government will not be imposing a mandatory flexible working model on the UK’s financial services industry as firms reassess flexible working policies following the easing of the government’s COVID-19 work-from-home guidance in July. The UK’s current flexible working model legislation, introduced in 2014, allows any employee with over 26 weeks of service at a company to submit a request for one of several flexible working arrangement options. Companies may reject the request citing one of the statutory grounds, including the burden of additional costs or impact on quality or performance.

Regulators have raised concerns about the negative impact the government’s decision could have on the future of diversity and inclusion in the financial services sector, and particularly the advancement of women into senior financial leadership roles. The Financial Conduct Authority, Prudential Regulation Authority and the Bank of England published a discussion paper with proposals to improve diversity and inclusion in the sector, with calls to base the pay of senior financial firm managers on diversity performance metrics to hold the firms accountable. Formal proposals are expected to launch early next year following a joint consultation of regulators.

Takeaway: Return to the workplace policies continue to create confusion across industries around the world as companies wrestle with the new realities of a post-COVID-19 workplace. Organizations will need to stay ahead of regulatory guidance that may change over time. They should also consider the positive impact that more flexible working arrangements can have on diversity in the workforce, as well as in attracting candidates in a competitive global business environment.

North America

US: Department of Labor Announces Final Rule on Joint Employment Regulation

US: New York City Fair Chance Act Amendments in Effect

US: California’s Prop 22 Worker Classification Law Struck Down

Canada: Pay Equity Act Aims to Close Gender Gap in the Workforce


UK: Umbrella Company Update: New Government Proposals Amid Calls for Total Ban

UK: Single Worker Status Proposed by Labour Party

EU: Whistleblower Protection Directive Laws Coming Late 2021


Australia: Surprise Ruling Strengthens Employers’ Say in Casual Worker Classifications

China: New Laws Protect the Rights of Flexible Workers

India: Companies Advised to Build Comprehensive Work-From-Home Policies

Singapore: Government Commits to Supporting Women’s Equality in the Workforce

This update contains general information only, and AGS is not rendering legal advice. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult qualified legal counsel. AGS shall not be responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any person or company who relies on this update.