Flexible Working - Employers Rights

An Individuals working circumstance can often change due to childcare, following childbirth and especially as they return to work following lockdown. They may wish to change their working hour arrangements with you. This is a 'request for Flexible Working'.

It is crucial that you do not enter into informal agreements with staff. To help you understand the law please read the following guidance;

All employees, with over 26 weeks continuous employment will have the right to request flexible working, rather than just those with children under 17 years (or 18 if the child is disabled) and carers.

Flexible working may take the form of working from home, working different hours, job sharing, flexitime or other alternatives.

An employee may only make one statutory request in any 12 month period. Their request must be in writing and must include:
 The date of their application
 A statement saying that it is a statutory request
 Whether any previous requests were made and when they were made
 The changes that are being sought and when they would like them to come into effect
 The effect they think it will have on the employer and how this may be dealt with

The employer will be under a duty to consider all requests in a reasonable manner. This will entail weighing the benefits to the employee and the business against the detriments of implementing these. Care should be taken not to discriminate against the employee, though the request may be refused under one of the following business reasons:
 Burden of additional costs
 Inability to reorganise work among existing staff
 Inability to recruit additional staff
 Detrimental impact on quality
 Detrimental impact on performance
 Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
 Insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work
 Planned structural change to the business

Whether a request is refused or accepted, the employee should be notified in writing. An appeal should be allowed if the decision is rejected. All requests including appeals must be considered and decided within 3 months from receiving the request, unless agreed otherwise.

Failure by the employee to attend a meeting to discuss the request and a rearranged meeting, without good reason, may be taken as a withdrawal of the request. The employee must be informed of this presumption.

To ensure compliance of the Law we recommend the use of the following template letters (available from Emplaw Solutions to clients);
 Invitation to make Formal Flexible Working Requests
 Flexible working Request Form
 Flexible Working Guidance
 Invitation to Discuss Flexible Working
 Refusal of Flexible Working
 Confirmation of Flexible Working
 Flexible Working Appeal Invitation
 Flexible Working Appeal Outcome Letter
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