Although more employers are offering flexible working as an option for their workforce to assist in maintaining a healthy work-life balance, there is a statutory process that needs to be followed.
To be eligible to make a flexible working request, employees must have at least 26 weeks service as an employee and are only entitled to make one flexible working request within a 12-month period.
Employee requests must:
- make their request in writing
- state the date the request is made
- state the change to working conditions sought
- state the date they would like the change to take effect
- state whether they have made a previous application for flexible work and the date of that application
- state how they feel the change to work conditions could affect the business e.g. cost savings, effect on the workforce etc
- state whether they are making a request in relation to the Equality Act 2010 e.g. allowing a disabled employee flexible working may be seen as a reasonable adjustment
Once the request is received, employers have three months in which to consider the request, discuss the request with the employee and to have notified them of the outcome.
Should employers agree to the request, this becomes a permanent change to an employee’s contract. If an employee wishes the request to be purely on a temporary basis, they must notify this in the original request made to their employer.
Employers can only refuse flexible working requests based on one of the eight statutory reasons and are obliged to consider any request in a reasonable manner. The statutory reasons for refusal are:
- burden of additional costs
- an inability to reorganise work among existing staff
- an inability to recruit additional staff
- detrimental impact on quality
- detrimental impact on performance
- detrimental effect on ability to meet client/customer demand
- insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work
- a planned structural change to the business.
Employees can raise a complaint to an Employment Tribunal should the employer:
- fail to deal with their application in a reasonable manner;
- fail to notify the employee of the decision application within the decision period;
- fail to rely on one of the statutory grounds when refusing their application;
- base its decision on incorrect facts; or
- treat the application as withdrawn when the grounds entitling the employer to do so do not apply.
If you have any further questions on the subject matter then please contact Karen Scott on 07762 629 448 or get in touch by clicking here.
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