The government’s conciliation service, Acas, has this week launched a consultation on a draft code of practice on the extended right to request flexible working.

The right to request to work flexibly, currently available only to carers and parents of children under 17, is likely to be extended to all employees who have worked for their employer for at least 26 weeks by 2014.

According to Acas, the government has asked it to produce a code of practice with an emphasis on helping businesses manage this new extended right.

It makes clear that the aim of the draft Code will be to offer short, practical advice to make it as easy as possible for employers to handle requests and fit them to their specific circumstances and procedures.

The current statutory procedure through which employers consider flexible working requests will therefore be repealed and replaced with a duty on employers to deal with requests in a “reasonable manner” and within a “reasonable period of time”.

Acas will also produce a non statutory good practice guide with practical examples of managing flexible working requests in the workplace. This will be published alongside the final code.

The right to request was first introduced in April 2003 for parents of children under six years old or under 18 if the child had a disability The right was extended to certain carers in 2007 and further extended to parents of all children under 17 in 2009.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks and closes on 20 May 2013. Please visit the Acas website to respond to the consultation