So what’s changing?
On 30th June the requirement that those who request flexible working be carers, or have parental responsibility, will be dropped. This will leave the door open to all with more than 6 months service..
Is this a problem?
It will depend on the number of requests an employer receives: most employers can handle flexible working for a minority of their workforce but will find it difficult or impossible to accommodate a significant rise. There is usually a ‘tipping point’ at which it is no longer feasible.
Flexible working just means ‘part time’ working doesn’t it?
No: flexible working may involve: job sharing; working from home; part time working; compressed hours working; flexitime; annualised hours working; staggered hours working and phased retirement.
Does the employer have to accede to a request for flexible working?
No: the employer may reject a request for a number of specified reasons only. However, a large number of flexible working cases will involve a risk of indirect discrimination claims if the reason for refusing the request cannot be sufficiently justified.
What solutions can be applied?
There are a number of practical steps you can take to get ready for the change:
- Ensure your policies reflect the new Flexible Working rules.
- Ensure policies explain the ‘tipping point’ factor.
- Understand how to rationalise decisions regarding flexible working so that they can be justified and costly discrimination claims are avoided.
If you need further assistance in this area contact us; we can provide 30th June 2014 compliant Policy documentation and assist with process if requests are made.