At Lodders, we recently hosted our employment roadshow: a seminar aimed at helping people with questions surrounding employment law matters. The topic? Redundancies and flexible working requests.
Whether an employee asks to change from a full-time role to part-time hours, suggests job-sharing, or is hoping to pursue a hybrid or remote working arrangement, the demand for flexible working is not expected to change anytime soon. So, it is wise to familiarise yourself with the relevant legislative framework, be aware of the pitfalls and make sure that, when an employee submits such a request, you are best equipped to handle it.
Accepting a flexible working request requires a willingness on the part of the employer to adapt to the needs of the employee. Sometimes this is easier said than done and can cause a level of disruption to your business.
So, what can you do if a member of staff submits a flexible working request and you are not sure if granting the request would be problematic?
You may have legal grounds for rejecting the request outright, such as its cost implications or the risk of a disproportionate effect on other staff. Alternatively it may be worth considering a flexible working trial.
At the employment roadshow seminar, we discussed the option of flexible working trials as an advisable measure to take in order to assess the implications and practicalities of a request.
Flexible working trials allow both your company and your employee to determine whether a new working arrangement would be suitable. For example, if an employee requests to work from home two days per week, trialling this first will help you to assess their productivity and efficiency on these days, while also considering how this affects your business.
Trials can, in theory, last for any period of time, but the majority might last for between three to six months. It is strongly advisable that you lay out the terms of the flexible working trial in writing and get both parties to sign it, to ensure that there is evidence of what was agreed. That way, your employee cannot argue that that the arrangement was permanent if you establish grounds to deny the request after the trial.
As it stands, employees with at least 26 weeks of continuous employment within your business have a legislative right to make one claim per year for flexible working. In practice, they can still make flexible working requests more often than this. There are currently some proposed changes to the process.
At the employment roadshow, we also discussed legislative changes that, if approved, will affect how flexible working requests are handled. These potential changes are currently making their way through parliament.
Here are some of the key changes that were initially suggested in December 2022:
Whilst these legislative amendments have not yet come into force , employers should be aware that, if they do, they will affect how they respond to flexible working requests. Employers will also need to change their own Flexible Working policies to ensure they remain legally compliant.
Would you benefit from attending our employment roadshow seminar? If so, you are in luck! The first seminar was held at our Stratford upon Avon office, but you can join the same seminar at our Cheltenham office on 8 June 2023, or at our Birmingham office on 7 September 2023. For more information or to book your free place, please contact Angela Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need advice on an employment law matter, please contact Damian KellyContact us
For help with a legal problem or more information on any of our services at Lodders, please get in touch with our friendly team. You can contact us via the number or email address below, or fill in the form and we will get back to you as quickly as we can.
Yorkshire all-rounder Vagadia, Griffiths and Bamber collect PCA Futures Awards…
November 28, 2023
We interview our new head of Commercial Property Development &…
November 28, 2023
The OPG is an executive agency of the Ministry of…
November 23, 2023
Seven PCA members have a chance of winning accolades to…
November 20, 2023