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An employee’s right to request flexible working – updates for 2014

In the last blog post about Employment law changes for April 2014, we highlighted that the right to request flexible working is to be extended to all employees in 2014.  A delay to the Children and Families Bill getting Royal Assent means that although this change was due to take effect from 6th April, it will now be delayed until “an appropriate date as soon as possible this year”.

In the meantime, Acas has now issued the finalised statutory Code of Practice on an employee’s right to request flexible working along with a non-statutory good practice guide for employers.

What are the highlights?

The finalised Code of Practice allows employers to manage requests for flexible working in a reasonable manner and includes not only what the request from the employee must include but also more details for employers on how to deal with a request.

The Code of Practice emphasises the importance of considering requests while weighing up the benefits of the requested changes against “any adverse business impact”.  In addition, there is an emphasis placed on the need to ensure fair treatment and not to discriminate against any employee.

Importantly, the Code of Practice is clear that if an employee fails on two occasions to attend a meeting to discuss their flexible working request without good reason, the employer may treat the application as having been withdrawn.

The non-statutory guidance document gives more information about developing a flexible working policy, how to handle multiple requests, how to justify refusals and how to use trial periods to best effect.

We will be bringing you all the relevant points from the Code of Practice and the non-statutory guidance in due course but if you have any questions in the meantime, please let us know on 01487 815720.

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