As you’re probably already aware, traditionally the option for being able to work flexibly has only been offered to parents and carers, but that’s changing. In fact from 30 June 2014, anyone who’s worked for their employer for at least 6 months has the right to request flexible working.
So what is flexible working?
Flexible working is about adapting your hours, working times and place you work to suit you better. So this could mean starting work earlier on certain days or being able to work from home so many days a week. It could also cover your patterns of work, so the shifts you do, offer part-time working, flexitime or job sharing.
What does this mean for you?
Even if you’re not a parent or responsible for the care of others, you’ll be able to request flexible working from your employer. And it doesn’t matter what size company you work for, your employer must still consider your request.
What does this mean for your employer?
Your employer is under no obligation to agree to your flexible working request just because you’ve asked for it. However, they must consider what you’re asking for and can only refuse if there is a business reason for doing so. These business reasons are set out in legislation and are:
- The burden of any additional costs is unacceptable to the organisation.
- The inability to reorganise work among existing staff.
- Inability to recruit additional staff.
- The change will have a detrimental impact on quality.
- The employer considers the change would have a detrimental effect on the business ability to meet customers demand.
- Detrimental impact of performance.
- There is insufficient work during the periods the employee proposes to work.
- Planned structural changes, for example, where the employer intends to reorganise or change the business and considers the flexible working changes may not fit with these plans.
- Avoid unlawful discrimination.
Your employer will have three months to consider and deal with your request, unless they agree a different timescale with you first.
How to make a request
To ensure you make your flexible working request correctly you should do it in writing and include:
- That it is statutory request.
- The date of your application, the change to working conditions you’re looking for and when you’d like the change to start.
- What effects you think your request would have on your employer and how, you think these effects could be dealt with.
- If you have made any applications for flexible working before and the dates those requests were made.
- If your request is in relation to the Equality Act 2010, for example, as a reasonable adjustment for a disability, then this should also be included.
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