What Is Flexible Working?
Flexible working typically refers to a change of your working pattern that can take place in several ways:
- Changing from full-time work to part-time work
- Changing when you work you part-time hours
- Changing your working hours to fit in with school hours, college hours or care arrangements
- Compressed hours, (working the same number of hours over fewer days)
- Flexitime, which refers to greater flexibility with when you start and finish
- Change to working from home or remotely
- Job sharing
- Self-rostering, refers to changing your shift pattern to your preferred times
- Shift working
- Staggered hours, refers to you being able to start and finish your days at different times
- Time off in lieu
- Annualised hours, where your working time is organised around the number of hours to be worked over a year rather than over a week
- Term-time work, refers to not working over school holidays
What can a property purchaser or potential tenant do in light of such discrimination by estate agents, landlords and property
This can be done for:
- All of your working days
- Specific days only
- Specific weeks only
- Temporarily over a number of your desired months
Making A Statutory Request
Employees have the right to make a statutory request for flexible working if they meet certain criteria. You must be an employee and you must have worked for your employer 26 weeks in a row on the date you make your application. If you meet these conditions, you will still not have the statutory right to ask for flexible working if you are any of the following:
- An agency worker – unless you are returning from parental leave
- Have asked for flexible working over the last 12 months, regardless if it has been agreed to or not
- Are an employee shareholder, unless you have returned from parental leave over the last 14 days
Following your request, your employer will need to look at it fairly under ACAS guidelines and reach a decision within the 3 months following the request. If they reject your request, they must have good business reasons for doing so.
It should be noted that your employer will be required to hold a meeting to discuss their reasons within 28 days of your application should they reject your request. You will be able to bring a colleague to the meeting who can be a co-worker or/and union representative. During the meeting a compromise could be agreed instead of the full request, should your employer still refuse to grant it.
Making a Non-statutory Request
Employees also have the freedom to make a non-statutory request for flexible working from the employer. There is no procedure for this type of request as it is not under the law for flexible working. If the request that you are asking for is minor or temporary, or your employer offers a better scheme than what could be obtained by a statutory request, a non-statutory request might be the better option.
Effects On Your Contractual Terms and Conditions
If you work different hours than you did previously, then you should still be paid at least the same on a pro rata basis. Being pro rata means that you get a share of the equivalent full-time salary, so if you now work for half of the hours, you will be entitled to half of the pay. Your holidays and other benefits should also still apply pro rata.
If your employer wants to give you worse terms and conditions because of your new working arrangements, you might be able to make a claim to an employment tribunal. This could include a discrimination claim.
Flexible working will also not affect your other employment rights, such as:
- Claiming unfair dismissal
- Itemised pay statements
- A written statement of terms and conditions
- Statutory minimum notice
- The longer period of maternity leave
Any reduction in your working hours should not affect your right to join, or stay in, an occupational pension scheme, and it should be kept in mind that excluding part-time workers from an occupational pension scheme is unlawful discrimination.