10 key points on Flexible Working from 30 June 2014

The changes to Flexible Working are finally upon us, and are due to take effect on Monday 30 June, but what are the key points for employers to remember?

1. Flexible working is now available to all employees who have 26 weeks’ continuous service. There is no longer the need to have caring responsibilities for children or adults.

2. The strict time limits have been removed, and decisions are now to be given within a 3 month period. The clock starts ticking from the date on which you receive the request. The time limit can be extended by agreement.

3. In order to satisfy the statutory criteria the employee should inform you:

  • that the request is being made under the statutory criteria,
  • set out the change they are seeking,
  • when they wish for that to take effect, and
  • explain what effect if any the request will make on the employer.

If any of this information is missing you should tell the employee and give them an opportunity to make an amended request.

4. Requests are to be dealt with in a ‘reasonable manner’ so what does this mean? Show you are seriously considering the request and don’t just say no!

5. Approach the request positively. Consider the benefits to the employee and the company, as well as the adverse impacts. Employers have reported to the CIPD that those employees to whom they have granted a flexible working request are more committed and productive for the organisation.

6. There are certain circumstances in which you can say no to the request, largely these relate to the performance and finances of the business. If you are unsure if you are able to say no to the request then give us a call, we would be more than happy to help.

7. If the request doesn’t fit with the Company needs think of other possible flexible working patterns that you can accommodate and suggest them to the employee rather than refusing the request – all part of dealing with the request in a reasonable manner.

8. If you receive multiple requests at one time, consider each on its own merits, but make sure you are consistent in your approach. Also consider how each request will impact on the business before considering granting any more.

9. Consider whether you can grant a trial period for the request, as sometimes it can be hard to know whether the change will suit your business. If you do grant a trial period don’t forget to agree an extension of time to the 3 month decision period with the employee.

10. Remember it is a right to request Flexible Working not a right to be granted it.

So, in light of the Flexible Working amendments review those policies as a matter of urgency if you have not already done so. If you would like any help with making any amendments in light of the above, or if you have any queries then please do not hesitate to contact us at Eagle HR on 0808 168 5780.