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New Flexible Working You in 2017

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Consilia Legal, Marie walsh  By Marie Walsh

New Year – New Flexible You?

It’s at this time of year that we look back on the last 12 months and wonder what we can do differently in the next 12 months isn’t it.

Most of us look to improve on the year before and especially in the new year I speak to a lot of employees who are considering making flexible working requests which they believe will improve both their working lives and improve productivity for their employer.

This might be by cutting out travel or niggling issues which have resulted in them being late for work on several occasions.  It might be to enable them to take care of children or other relatives or in some cases I have dealt with to enable employees to accommodate the needs of their valued pets.

Whatever the reason and in short employees with at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment can make a request for flexible working under the statutory scheme for any reason.

The employee triggers the procedure by making a written request. The employer then has the three-month decision period (which can be extended by agreement) within which to consider the request, discuss it with the employee (if appropriate) and notify the employee of the outcome.

The employer must deal with the application in a reasonable manner and a procedure should be followed.  Most employers have a flexible working policy or adhere to the ACAS guidance.

The employer can only refuse a request for one (or more) of the eight reasons set out in the legislation.

Only one request can be made in any 12-month period

Changes can relate to a change to working hours, a change to the times when the employee is required to work or a change to the place of work.

Lots of employers do seriously consider departing from the standard 9-5.  Other common working patterns can include part-time working, full-time working (if currently part-time), annualised hours, compressed hours, flexi-time, homeworking, job-sharing, shift-working, and term-time working.

Of course an employer may have entirely legitimate business reasons why it cannot accommodate a flexible working request. There are eight specific grounds for rejecting a request for example the burden of additional costs, detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand Inability to reorganise work among existing staff, Inability to recruit additional staff, Detrimental impact on quality, Detrimental impact on performance, Insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work.

In conclusion then is it time for you consider changes which will help with your work life balance in 2017? 

If you are an employer dealing with flexible working requests have you considered the benefits in accommodating employee requests?

Happy New Year


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