[This is part one of a three part series on the “employer-friendly” policies which the Coalition Government have implemented during their tenure.]
The employer-friendly policies have the aim of reducing potential liabilities on employers in order to encourage employment within the workplace. With the lowest unemployment figures since late 2008, 1.97 million at the end of August 2014, this will give added scope for the Government to suggest that these new policies have assisted that aim.
In this post I will discuss the introduction of Flexible Working Requests in June 2014.
Prior to June 2014, any employee with at least 26 weeks service could request a flexible working arrangement to allow them to care for a child aged 16 or under (18 or under if disabled). As of the 30th June 2014, the right to request flexible working arrangements apply to all employees who have 26 weeks’ continuous employment, regardless of their reasons for requesting a flexible working arrangement - they do not need to have children to qualify for this right.
The employer is still be able to refuse the employee’s request on one or more of eight grounds for refusal, but now has three months to provide the employee with its decision.
The eight grounds upon which an employer can refuse a flexible working request are:
1. the burden of additional costs;
2. detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand;
3. inability to reorganise work among existing staff;
4. inability to recruit additional staff;
5. detrimental impact on quality;
6. detrimental impact on performance;
7. insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work; or
8. planned structural changes.
Any request made by an employee must be dealt with by the employer within 3 months and the new procedure emphasises that the employer must deal with the request reasonably, as a failure to do so is a ground for complaint by an employee at an Employment Tribunal.
Are you considering making a request for flexible working to your employer and would like to talk it through? Please feel free to drop me an email or give me a call on 01908 660966. Are you an employer – have you received flexible working requests from your employees? I would be interested to hear your feedback on how this has helped or hindered employee management and morale in your business.