Before June 2014, employees needed to meet fairly fixed eligibility requirements in order to have the right to request flexible working, such as having caring responsibilities for either a child or an adult in need of care.
Now, to be eligible to request flexible working, an employee only needs to have served 26 weeks’ continuous service and not to have made a previous request for flexible working within the last year.
That said, eligible employees do not necessarily have the right to work flexibly, but rather a right to submit a request to their employer for flexible working. On receipt of the request, the employer is under a duty to consider the request in a reasonable manner, but does not have to follow a statutory procedure.
The right to request flexible working is available to employees with a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service with the employer.
No qualifying period of employment is required for claiming unfair dismissal where an employee has been dismissed for making a request for flexible working.
The right to request flexible working applies to both full-time and part-time employees.
If a request for flexible working is refused, the employee must make any claims to an employment tribunal within three months of the ‘relevant date’.
Refusing an Application
Requests can be refused if the employees concerned are ineligible to make a flexible working request (e.g. if they do not have the requisite service or, if they have made a previous request within the past 12 months). An employer can also reject a flexible working request if the employee has failed to make a request setting out all of the required information. However, in such cases an employee can simply submit an amended request (the 12-month limit will not apply) and, if a request is dismissed out of hand, there would also be a risk of an employment tribunal claim.
In all other cases, an employer can only refuse an application on the following grounds:
the burden of additional costs
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
planned structural changes.
If you need further information on any of the topics above for your business, get in touch.
For more information or to book an HR consultation please contact Karen Scott on 07762 629 448 or get in touch by clicking here.
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