Flexible Working Requests
10 August 2016
Under the flexible working scheme, which was introduced in June 2014, all eligible employees can make a request for flexible working for any reason. If one of your employees makes a request of this nature, you have certain obligations. Failure to abide by these can result in a tribunal claim, so it is important you meet the legislative requirements. We have identified three key aspects of this right that you need to be aware of.
Firstly, what is an ‘eligible employee’? In order to be eligible to make a request of this nature, an employee must have at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment on the date they make the request. This right only applies to employees and is not available to other individuals, such as agency workers. Eligible employees can make one formal request in each 12 month period.
Secondly, is it really the case that these requests can be made for any reason? The answer is ‘yes’. Prior to 30 June 2014, such requests could only be made in order to care for certain children and adults but that is no longer the case. For example, if one of your employees works every Saturday at the moment but would like to change this in order to see how Jose Mourinho gets on at Manchester United this season, then they are perfectly entitled to request this.
The third issue, therefore, is how do you go about declining or accepting a request of this nature? Your employee may be optimistic about Manchester United’s chances this season (and with good reason…) but if their request will have a negative impact on your business operations then you are able to decline the request. However, this must be for one of the eight grounds prescribed by legislation. Provided one of these grounds is identified, and you offer a right of appeal, there should be no problems that arise from declining a request of this nature.
Like many aspects of employment law, dealing with flexible working requests is all about procedure. Failure to do the right thing can prove costly but as long as you follow sound advice, you can make sure all boxes are ticked. That is where Alpha comes in.
At Alpha, we have a vast experience in providing bespoke, practical advice on HR and employment law issues. This includes providing specific advice on how to deal with requests for flexible working. We are proud of our commercial outlook and do not sit on the fence. If you would like to have Alpha on your side, please feel free to contact us.
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