Do you know how to handle Flexible Working Requests?

April 12, 2017

Who can make a request?

  • Must be an employee
  • Must have worked for the business continuously for at least 26 weeks at the time of the request
  • Only one request from an individual is allowed in any 12 month period

What must the application include?

  • A statement that it is a statutory request
  • Confirmation of eligibility and if/ when they have made a request before
  • Date of application, the change requested, and the date they would like the change to commence
  • What effect it might have on the business, and how they feel it can be dealt with
  • A statement that the request relates to The Equality Act 2010 if applicable

It is a good idea to have a standard form for employees to use to make a request, so that all necessary information is included.

If you can’t accommodate a request, you should arrange a meeting with the employee to discuss the situation, and any possible compromise.

You can agree to a request on a trial basis.

You can turn down a request for one or more of the following business reasons:

  • burden of additional cost
  • inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff
  • detrimental effect on our ability to meet client demands
  • inability to recruit additional staff
  • detrimental impact on quality
  • detrimental impact on performance
  • insufficient work to do during the periods you want to work
  • planned structural changes

You don’t have to agree to a request from anyone, including a woman returning from maternity leave, as long as it is for one or more of the above business reasons.

You may be able to change other terms and conditions at the same time provided that the change is due to a change in role. You must not change other terms, such as rate of pay, just because someone has gone from full to part-time hours, for example.

Agreeing to one request doesn’t set a precedent for future requests.

There is no legal right of appeal for an employee who has had their request refused, but it is considered good practice to offer one.

Do be sure to keep a full paper trail in case of any future dispute.

Do make the employee aware that once you have accepted their request, it is a permanent change to their contract of employment.

Please note – this information is provided for guidance only, and is not a substitute for specific legal advice in any given situation.

Eight Legal Ltd. Premier Service provides Contracts, Employee Handbook, and comprehensive policies and template letters, along with unlimited email and telephone advice. The advice is practical and business-focused, to keep your business running smoothly. For more information contact us on 01242 570161, email [email protected].