Flexible working may seem like a great way to improve your work-life balance but before you run to fill out your application form, it’s worth knowing the following facts.
1. Defining Flexible working
Flexible working is any working pattern other than the normal working pattern, so it can involve changing your place of work, times of work or even the hours you work.
To apply for flexible working you must write a detailed application well in advance of when you want your change of working arrangement to come into effect.
You must be an eligible employee to be considered for flexible working, this means having at least 26 weeks service and have not made another application in the last 12 months. Employers by law must seriously consider your application for flexible working.
Employers can refuse a flexible working application, but only if there is a valid business reason. This could be anything from being unable to meet customer demand, additional costs, impact on the quality or performance, inability to reorganise work to other members of staff or recruit additional staff, planned structural changes or even insufficiency of work during the periods you want to work.
If your application for work flexibility is refused, you have 14 days after receiving a refusal letter to appeal the decision. You must then have a meeting with your employer within 14 days to discuss the grounds of your appeal and then your employer will have another 14 days to write back to you either accepting or refusing your application.
You may choose to make a formal complaint which can be done at an employment tribunal or to the Acas arbitration scheme.
7. Work from home
It’s worth noting that while you may opt to work from home, employers will still have health and safety obligations to you.
8. Special events
Events such as royal weddings or sporting events are not reasonable grounds on which to request flexible working.
If your request for flexible working has been approved your employer should reflect this change in your contract. Your employer will need to amend your hours worked as well as your holiday entitlement and pay.
Your employer should keep records of who has applied work flexibility and the responses given. If you are granted flexible working your new arrangements should be monitored and evaluated.
If you need advice on any employment related issues, please contact our specialist team here.
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