Flexible working can be extremely beneficial, allowing employees to create a strong work/life balance that can assist with personal commitments such as caring responsibilities.
Research has found that for employers, allowing flexible working has the effect of lowering employee turnover, whilst enhancing the ability to retain valued employees and boosting workplace morale.
Before the Covid-19 lockdown, many businesses were reluctant to adopt flexible/agile working practices, preferring to remain with more traditional in-office hours, five days a week. During the Covid-19 pandemic, business and their employees have found the need to work together, proving that it many cases, it is possible to have a productive workforce, who are based remotely.
All employees have the statutory right to request flexible working after they’ve completed 26 weeks of continuous employment with their employer. This type of request typically includes; a change to hours and/or days worked, or to work from home. Employers are encouraged to consider and accept flexible working requests wherever possible, and may only decline a request where there is a sound business reason for refusal.
Can I refuse a flexible working request?
Employers should consider requests in a reasonable manner and can only refuse them if there is a good business reason for doing so. ACAS have set out the statutory code of practice on handling requests to work flexibly. The legislation permits an employer to refuse a flexible working request on eight business grounds:
The eight statutory reasons for refusing a flexible working request
The burden of additional costs
An inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff
An inability to recruit additional staff
A detrimental impact on quality
A detrimental impact on performance
Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
Insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work
Planned structural changes to the business
There are many considerations for employers when managing working flexibly and if you’d like to know more about putting in place safe, flexible working practices that work well for both you and your employees, get in touch.
For more information, HR help and support on any of the HR topics listed here, contact Karen Scott on 07762 629 448 or get in touch by clicking here.
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