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Changes to the laws on flexible working

Here at Thorneycroft solicitors we can help advise you on how the changes to flexible working legislation will effect you or your business.

 As of the 30 June 2014, every worker now has the statutory right to ask for flexible working, as long as they have worked 26 weeks or more with a company. Flexible working can take many forms including: working from home, a part time or temporary contract, a flexible shift or job sharing. Previously these options had only been available to employees who had children under the age of 17 and for people who cared for vulnerable individuals but now this new legislation opens it up to all employees.

What do employees need to know?:

  • Flexible working requests must be made in writing stating the date you wish the flexible working to start and any changes to your working conditions you feel will benefit the company (ie cost effective) and also include any previous requests made including their date.
  • A flexible working request can be made in relation to the Equality Act 2010 if an employee has a disability that would benefit from flexible working.
  • The request and appeal process must not take any more than three months to be decided on from the date of the request.
  • Rejections of requests must be based on sound business reasons.
  • Only one flexible working request can be made per year.

What do employers need to know?:

  • On receipt of a flexible working request, it is good practice to arrange a meeting with the employee as soon as possible to discuss the information contained within the request. These meetings may include an employee representative which may be another employee or a union rep. A meeting may not always be needed if the employer feels the request is fair and can be accommodated easily.
  • The new legislation states that the request must be considered and decided upon, including the appeal process, within a three month period from the date of the request.
  • If a request is accepted, the employment contract will be changed permanently. Any temporary changes need to be agreed by the employer and employee and include any comprises made if the original request is rejected.
  • An employer must consider all requests reasonably and only reject them if there is a genuine business reason.

Please find the Acas recommended reasons for refusal of flexible working requests:

  • the burden of additional costs
  • an inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff
  • an inability to recruit additional staff
  • a detrimental impact on quality
  • a detrimental impact on performance
  • detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
  • insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work
  • a planned structural changes to the business

If you require more detailed help or advice with regards to the changes in flexible working legislation then contact our specialist solicitors who are experts in employment law and can help you to navigate through this complicated process.

For further details on all employment law procedures and HR advice please contact our specialist employment solicitor Mark Bestley on 01625 507571 or 07825 081 856 or email him at [email protected]