Every employee has the statutory right to ask to work flexibly after 26 weeks’ service and, it’s important to remember, each employee can only make a request once in any 12 month period.
So here are our top tips to help you manage flexible working requests:-
- Requests must be in writing. You must consider all requests and arrange to talk with your employees as soon as possible after receiving their written request (if you intend to approve it in full then a meeting is not needed).
- The law requires that all requests, including any appeals, must be considered (and a decision made) within a period of three months from first receipt, unless you agree to extend this period with the employee.
- If you have a flexible working policy then you should follow the timescales within it.
- You should allow an employee to be accompanied by a work colleague to the initial meeting and for any appeal discussion. Inform employees of the right to be accompanied in advance of the meeting.
- Discuss the request with your employee. It will help you get a better idea of what changes they are looking for and how they might benefit your business as well as the employee.
- The discussion should be held in a private place where it will not be overheard.
- Consider the request carefully looking at the benefits for both the employee and your business and weigh these against any adverse business impact of implementing the changes.
- Inform the employee of the decision as soon as possible. You should do this in writing as this can help avoid future confusion on what was decided.
- If you reject the request it must be for one of the following business reasons as set out in the legislation:
- 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
- a planned structural change to your business.
- If you arrange a meeting to discuss the application including any appeal and the employee fails to attend both this and a rearranged meeting without a good reason, you can consider the request withdrawn. If you do so, you must inform the employee.
For further information about flexible working requests, alterations to contracts or other administration queries please contact your HR Advisor, call one of the team on 01924 827869 or email email@example.com.