It used to be that only employees with caring responsibilities were able to request flexible working, but from 30 June 2014 all employees with 26 weeks service will be able to make a request. There are many kinds of flexible working and your employees will be able to ask you to consider their proposals. It will be your statutory duty to consider any requests, but what does this mean in practice.
Home-working, flexitime, part-time working, job shares, changes to shift patterns, compressed hours or staggered hours are all examples of flexible working that might help employees with other arrangements or to suit a particular work life balance.
Your duty as an employer is to give any request for flexible working reasonable consideration within a reasonable time and to let your employee know your decision.
If the request is unreasonable or honouring it would cause a detriment to the business you are within your rights to refuse the application, but you must do this in a timeous manner and give reasons for the refusal. Your employee would be able to appeal the decision and if he believes that you are being unreasonable he could make a claim to the employment tribunal.
Good HR practice would suggest that you have a policy and procedure within the business for addressing flexible working applications. It makes sense that you provide this information to employees either through the staff intranet or a staff handbook . Premier Legal are experienced in drafting bespoke policies and procedures for all sorts of businesses, we can also provide complete handbooks or policy suites if required. Please call on 0845 070 0505 (Please note: Calls to this number will cost approximately 4p per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge) if you have any queries about employment law & flexible working.