Employers Need to Remember to update Their Flexible Working Policy
A major change is due to take place on 30th June 2014. Any employee with at least 26 weeks’ continuous services will have the right to request flexible working. Before it was limited to employees who had children under the age of 17 (18 if the child is disabled) and certain carers.
The government is also abolishing the inflexible and bureaucratic statutory procedure for handling flexible working requests. Employers will be expected to handle requests in a “reasonable manner”.
ACAS have provided a short statutory Code of Practice (still in draft form) and Guidance Notes which provide employers with an idea on how to handle requests in a “reasonable manner”.
The changes are unlikely to make a severe difference in practice as most employers currently allow all employees to make flexible working requests. The ACAS guides suggest that employers will continue to deal with working requests in the same manner as they do now but do not have the pressure of rigid timescales.
However employers may encounter difficulties with an increase in requests and also when dealing with competing yet inconsistent requests. For example one on religious grounds and one for family reasons and will require careful expectation management.
Should you wish to discuss appropriate amendments to your employee contracts politics and procedures please do not hesitate to contact our dedicated Employment Team at Michael Lewin Solicitors.
Author: Nicola Williams