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Employment Law For Businesses

Flexible Working

Solicitors in Manchester and London providing expert Legal Assistance On Flexible Working

Flexible working is becoming increasingly popular with more and more employers receiving flexible working requests. For some businesses flexible working will not be an option. Your business needs to understand how to construct a flexible working policy within the parameters of the law and to respond appropriately to flexible working requests. 

Responding to flexible working requests and creating policies is not as easy as it might appear. There are a number of guidelines and policies you need to adhere to in order to avoid defending a costly and time-consuming discrimination claim. 

What is the process for a flexible working request?

ACAS has published a Code of Practice to help employers comply with the law surrounding flexible working. They have advised the following steps when dealing with a request:-

  1. An employee makes a request in writing
  2. If you need to, meet with the employee to discuss the request
  3. Within 3 months of receiving the request you should approve, reject or suggest amendments to the request
  4. Offer an appeal if the employee is unhappy with your decision
  5. Start a trial period for the flexible working arrangement 

By coming to a flexible working arrangement, you are changing the employment contract permanently. You cannot change it back without agreement between both parties. 

Who can make a flexible working request?

An employee can make a flexible working request if they have worked for the company for 26 weeks or more. In some cases, you may want to extend your flexible working policy to include those who have worked for you for under 26 weeks to accommodate those with care responsibilities. You do not have a legal requirement to do so but it could be beneficial as you could face a discrimination claim if you do not make allowances in some circumstances. 

What should I consider when faced with a flexible working request?

There are 8 circumstances in which you can reject a flexible working request. These are:

  • It will increase your business costs
  • It will affect the quality of your business
  • It will affect your ability to meet customer demands
  • It will affect your businesses performance
  • You will not be able to reorganise the work amongst the other staff
  • There would not be enough work at the times the employee wants to work
  • You will not be able to recruit more staff
  • You are planning a change to the structure of your business

When you are asserting one of these reasons you must have evidence and an explanation to back up your refusal. 

How can Monarch Solicitors help?

Our specialist employment solicitors have decades of experience dealing with employment issues. They are well equipped to deal with a whole manner of different cases no matter how big or small. 

Our team have had great success negotiating settlement offers, taking claims to the Employment Tribunal, and many more. Every person we represent receives the same high quality of treatment and personal service.

Contact our employment lawyers today

Whatever your issue our employment solicitors are here to help.

Call us on 0330 127 8888 for an initial consultation. Or email us on [email protected] and one of our team will get back to you.

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FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

There are different types of flexible working you can request, these include:

  • Part-time: working less hours 
  • Flexitime: flexible start and finish times but working for the agreed hours as stated in your employment contract
  • Working from home
  • Working during school term time only
  • Job sharing: splitting the number of hours in work between employees in the same job role

Employers are not contractually obliged to consent to any flexible working requests. Common reasons why employers may reject flexible working requests are:

  • Flexible working will have a negative impact on business performance and profitability
  • It will affect the business’s capacity in meeting customer demand
  • Unable to reorganise work amongst staff
  • Unable to recruit extra employees
  • It would incur in additional costs
  • There is not enough work for you to do during your requested hours
  • It would result in a change in planned structural changes to the business

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