Jennifer Millins
Recruitment International
13 August 2014

Handling Flexible Working

On 30 June 2014, the right to request flexible working was extended to all employees with at least 26 weeks'  service. Previously, flexible working was available only to carers of children under 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and carers of adult dependants. The new laws allow employees to request flexible working for any reason. The only further caveat, for the employee, is that they cannot make more than one request within a 12 month period.

As under the previous legislation, employees have the right to 'request' flexible working but do not necessarily have the right to have their request granted. However, the rules around how employers deal with the request have been relaxed. Employers now have a three month period in which to make a decision (including dealing with any appeal), and the new laws remove the prescriptive and burdensome procedures that employers were previously required to follow. The duty is now on employers to deal with the request in a reasonable manner and to provide their decision to the employee in writing. If the employer rejects the request, one of eight prescribed business reasons must be provided. Those reasons include cost and various impacts that the requested arrangement might have on the organisation of staff and the running of the business.

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