A new flexible working culture for the UK?

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.

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