As of 30th of June 2014, all employees are able to make a flexible work request under changes introduced by government in the Children and Families Bill.
The Government have extended the right to request flexible working to all employees subject to them having 26 weeks consecutive service. The statutory procedure for considering these requests has been removed and instead employers should deal with requests “in a reasonable manner”.
Although the more prescriptive statutory procedure has been removed, employers must still respond to a request within 3 months of the application being made. The grounds on which flexible working request can be refused still remain.
These grounds include:
- Additional costs which will damage the business
- Business will be unable to meet customer demand
- Work cannot be redistributed amongst other staff
- The business is unable to recruit cover for additional work
- Flexible working will have an effect on quality and performance
- Lack of work during proposed working times
- The business is planning changes to the work force
So, what does this change mean for employers?
The Government are confident that this change will bring a number of benefits to employers including:
- The ability to retain valuable staff
- Reduction in absenteeism
- Increased employee commitment
- Increased productivity and
- The ability to extend business opening hours.
Sounds great? Realistically, what will this mean for small to medium size businesses?
They may now see increased threats of employment tribunals when declining flexible work requests, pressure in providing adequate staffing levels for business opening hours, unsupervised staff and increased challenges with communication and team work.
Only time will tell what impact this change will have however in the mean time if you require any assistance with flexible work requests please do not hesitate to contact us on 01302 341 344. Louise, Angela & Jodi can help you.
If you’re already a ProAktive Employment client, you will have a flexible working policy in your Handbook and we will amend this and notify you.