Flexible working requests

1) Any employee (N.B. not agency workers) who has at least 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer and

2) has not made another flexible working request within the preceding 12 months.

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Hours of work, times of work, location of work, job share etc.

No, but ACAS have constructed advisory good practice for dealing with the request and you must have genuine reasons for refusing the request which must be on the grounds of one or more of 8 specifically allowable reasons.

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They should apply to you in writing stating that they are applying to work flexibly and confirming that they qualify to make the request, i.e. that they have at least 26 weeks’ continuous service and have not made a request in the preceding 12 months. They should also describe the changes they wish to make and of the impact that these will have on the employer and what the employer could do to minimise this impact. Many employers provide a form for this purpose.

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You should urgently contact myHRdept to discuss the case as the person may have to be dismissed.  

Please contact us to discuss your HR needs or phone 01628 820515. 

The entire process for dealing with a flexible working request should be completed without undue delay. Although recent changes to the legislation removed the formal statutory consideration procedure, we would expect employers have a flexible working policy (and stick to it) and to:

  • Agree to the change and confirm the new working arrangements in writing; or
  • Schedule a meeting with the employee to discuss the request (usually within 14 days of receipt of the request).

If you schedule a meeting you should allow the employee to be accompanied by a fellow employee if they want to be. You should confirm the outcome of the meeting in writing normally within 7 days of it taking place.

(myHRdept can supply a flexible working policy and prepare letters etc.  We can also advise on the potential reasonableness of a proposed refusal of a flexible working request.)

If as a result of the meeting you conclude that the request should not be granted, you should supply as much detail as possible of the reasons for the refusal and inform the employee that they may appeal against the decision. If an appeal is lodged (normally within 7 days of receiving the decision) a further meeting should be held normally within 14 days of its receipt. The same right of accompaniment applies and a written confirmation of the outcome of the meeting should be given normally within 7 days.

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The request may only be refused on one of the following grounds, and even then only after a fair procedure has been followed:
  • burden of extra costs to the business
  • a detrimental effect on the Company’s ability to meet customer demand
  • inability to reorganise work within existing staff
  • detrimental impact on quality
  • inability to recruit additional staff
  • detrimental impact on performance
  • insufficient work during the periods which the employee requests to work
  • planned structural changes

The particular grounds must be stated with as much supporting information as possible (at least a couple of paragraphs).

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Once agreed the changes are permanent. This should be confirmed by issuing a new contract (or an amendment to contract) to the employee.

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If both you and the employee agree that a trial is appropriate then you may extend the flexible working request process by the length of the trial. You should confirm in writing:

  • the end date of the trial
  • the factors that will be varied for the duration of the trial (hours/days/job share etc.)
  • what you would expect to see for the trial to be a success and what would happen if it is, i.e. the new terms would apply permanently
  • what would happen if the trial wasn’t a success (e.g. a return to the pre-trial arrangements.)

If after a trial you decide that the changes do not work you should continue with the process as outlined in the flexible working policy and procedure (myHRdept can supply.)

Call us on 01628 820515 to discuss your HR requirements or email us and we’ll call you! 

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