Flexible working requests

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It is becoming increasingly common that employees want to strike the appropriate work/life balance.The law now provides that qualifying employees can ask their employers to consider a request for flexible working which can be one way of achieving this balance.It is not the case, however, as many believe that employers must always agree to a request for flexible working.

A flexible working request can be a request to change the hours that an employee works, the times they are required to work or the place that the employee works, for example they could request to work from home instead.

There are eight grounds that an employer can use to refuse a request for flexible working which are set out in the legislation. An employer can refuse such a request if, for example, accepting the employee’s request would have a detrimental impact on quality of business output or performance. An employer could also refuse the request if it would be difficult to reorganise work or recruit additional staff, perhaps because the employee wishes to change or reduce their hours and it would not be possible to get somebody to cover the necessary hours. The key for any employer when considering any flexible working request is that an employer should always aim to be reasonable and consider each request on its facts.

There is a formal process to be carried out when considering a flexible working request and a three month decision period for an employer to provide the employee with their decision. If the employer cannot agree to the employee’s request for whatever reason, they can also make a counter proposal.

The key point to note with any flexible working request is that they can be useful from both the employer and employee’s perspective and an employer should approach these requests reasonably.

Please contact Miranda Mulligan if you wish to discuss these issues further.

Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.