How does your business deal with flexible working requests?

Since 2014, 20 million people in the UK have the right to request flexible working hours. Since the government has extended the flexible working rights to include all employees who have completed six months service with a company, has your business put a process put in place to deal with these requests?

Who is eligible to request Flexible Working Rights?

All of your employees have the statutory right to ask to for flexible working after 26 weeks employment. They can only make a request once within a 12-month period.

What should a Flexible Working Request process include?

ACAS has a short guide, which is summarised below, to help businesses process these requests within the boundaries given by the Employment Rights Act.

The request from the employee must be made in writing and include the following information:

  • The date of their application,
  • the change to working conditions they are seeking,
  • when they would like the change to come into effect,
  • what effect, if any, they think the requested change would have on you as the employer and how, in their opinion, any such effect might be dealt with,
  • a statement that this is a statutory request and if and when they have made a previous application for flexible working.

As part of your process, you must ensure that employees are aware what information they need to include when they make a request for flexible working, including the fact that they are allowed to be accompanied by a work colleague during any meetings.

Once a request has been received, you must consider it and speak to the employee, in private, to discuss the implications and effects of their flexible working request. ACAS suggests that if you intend to approve the request then a meeting is not needed, but it may be good practice to take time to talk about all requests as soon as they are received.

Look at the benefits of the requested changes for the employee and your business, and weigh them against any adverse impact. If you do decide to reject the request, it must be for one of the following reasons:

  • 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.

Once you have made your decision you must inform the employee, in writing, of that decision as soon as possible

Want to find out more about the process of Flexible Working Requests? Contact HR That Helps today for more information.


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