Flexible Working Requests

Employment Solicitors

The right to make a flexible working request is to be extended to all employees, which may present employers with significant difficulties given that they must consider and deal with all such requests in a reasonable manner.

The Children and Families Bill confirms the government’s decision to abolish the statutory framework in relation to requests for flexible working. The provisions were due to come into effect on 6 April 2014, although the Bill has been held up in the House of Lords so it remains to be seen when the new provisions will take effect.

Once in force, all employees with 26 weeks employment will be able to make requests for flexible working (although only one request can be made in any 12 month period).

The statutory procedure for considering requests is to be removed, and employers must instead consider requests in a reasonable manner and within a reasonable time. Employers will have the right to refuse flexible working requests on business grounds, although employees will have a right to appeal against any decision not to agree to a flexible working request, and employers are to be encouraged to negotiate.

Micro business (businesses with fewer than 10 employees) will not be exempt from the requirement to consider all requests for flexible working.

ACAS has published a draft code of practice on this legislation, and proposes to introduce guidance to assist employers in terms of how to manage issues such as conflicting requests and changing work patterns.

If you would like any more information on employment issues, please contact us.

Jacqueline Penfold
Jacqueline Penfold
Tina Ripley
Tina Ripley