Call us today on 01487 815 720 or email us on [email protected]

Managing flexible working applications in your business

What’s all this about flexible working applications then?

On 30th June 2014, the law changed to allow all employees to apply for/request to work flexibly.  Before that date, it was only employees who had caring responsibilities but now any eligible employee can make a request.

Who is an eligible employee?

To be eligible to make a flexible working request, the employee must have at least 26 weeks continuous employment with you.

What kind of requests can I expect to receive?

You might be asked if you will agree to things like:

  • Changing days or hours, either reducing hours or perhaps working the same hours over a different number of days;
  • Changing place of work, usually allowing an employee to work from home if they’re normally office based.

How will a request be made?

An employee who wants to request flexible working will have to:

  • Put it in writing;
  • Explain that they are applying to work flexibly;
  • Be specific about the change they’re looking for;
  • Tell you when they’d like the change to take place;
  • Explain what effect, if any, they think the change would have on you as the employer and suggest how that effect could possibly be dealt with.

What do I need to do then?

If you receive a request to work flexibly, you are obliged to deal with it in a reasonable manner.  That means:

  • A 3 month decision period (this can be extended by agreement) to consider the request, discuss it with the employee and notify them of the outcome;
  • Giving consideration to the change in working pattern or working arrangements before meeting with the employee to discuss it;
  • Look at possible alternatives if you cannot accommodate their request;
  • Be able to demonstrate that you have seriously considered the request and explain if it can or cannot be accommodated (and any reasons for reaching that decision).

If I refuse a flexible working request, what reasons can I give?

You can refuse a request for one or more of 8 specific reasons as set out in the recent legislation:

  • The burden of additional costs;
  • A detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand;
  • Inability to reorganise work among existing staff;
  • Inability to recruit additional staff;
  • Detrimental impact on quality;
  • Detrimental impact on performance;
  • Insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work; or
  • Planned structural changes.

What do I need to do now?

You’ll need to explain your flexible working procedure to staff so they know what they need to do and what to expect from you in handling a flexible working request.  If you already have a flexible working procedure you should make sure that it’s in line with the new statutory procedure.  If you don’t have a procedure, you should put one in place.

For help with flexible working, writing procedures and general advice on dealing with requests from your staff, get in touch today

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply