Flexible Working

Flexible Working Applications

31 May 2017

Flexible working seems to be causing some confusion among employers and employees alike. In this article we look at what it really means.

There are a number of different ways to work flexibly: job sharing, working from home or a different office or location, part time, compressed hours, flexitime, annualised hours, staggered hours or phased retirement.

Flexible Working

There are a number of reasons why an employee may request flexible working, whatever the reason every employee that has worked continuously for the employer for at least 26 weeks has the legal right to make an application. This is known as Making a Statutory  Application.

Once an application has been made, the employer must deal with requests in a “reasonable manner” that is rather a leading term isn’t it?

ACAS have a hefty pdf that explains what a reasonable manner is in this regard. In short this includes:

  1. Arrange a meeting with the employee as soon as possible once the request has been received.
  2. Consider the request and weigh up the benefit to the employee of the requested change versus the adverse business impact. When considering the flexible working request you must be careful not to discriminate unlawfully against the employee.
  3. flexible workingOnce a decision has been reached you should inform the employee of the decision in writing.
  4. If you accept the request, or accept it with modifications, you will need to outline these changes and plan the implementation of the flexible working. This will require a consultation with the employee to map out how and when the changes will take affect.
  5. If you reject the flexible working request it must be for one of the following business reasons:
    1. the burden of additional costs
    2. an inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff
    3. an inability to recruit additional staff
    4. a detrimental impact on quality
    5. a detrimental impact on performance
    6. detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
    7. insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work
    8. a planned structural change to your business.
  6. If you reject the flexible working request, you should allow the employee to appeal the decision.
  7. If you reject the request the employee may be able to complain to an employment tribunal.

Other things you should know about Flexible Working

All requests for Flexible working should be dealt with, within 3 months. An employee can only make one request a year. The employer can treat the application as withdrawn if an employee misses 2 meetings to discuss the application.

As with all areas of HR, Flexible Working can be rather complex, if you have received a flexible working request and need support and guidance dealing with the process then get it solved! Contact solved hr on 07714 790024 or email info@solvedhr.co.uk