01 July 2014
Flexible rights for all employees
The extended rights mean it is no longer just employees with parental responsibility for young children or carers that are eligible to request flexible working.
Under the new rules, you can apply as long as you have 26 weeks' continuous service with the employer and have not made a previous request within the last 12 months.
However, it's important to note that eligible employees do not automatically have the right to work flexibly, but rather a right to submit a request to their employer for flexible working. The statutory procedure for dealing with flexible working requests is also repealed.
Under the new regulations, employers will have a duty to consider all requests in a reasonable manner, although they will still be able to turn them down on business grounds.
If an employee has been dismissed for making a request for flexible working, no qualifying period is required for claiming unfair dismissal. If a request for flexible working is refused, the employee must make any claims to an Employment Tribunal within three months of the 'relevant date'.
Employment law partner, Jo Davis adds: “An employer is there to run a business and make a profit, so employees need to be reasonable and flexible in what they ask for. They should think about how the business could work around the request and, if possible, come up with solutions which would make it far harder for the employer to say no.”
For example, she says, if you want to reduce a five day week to a four day week, it might be quite difficult for an employer to take someone on for only one day. Suggesting you work a three day week and allowing the employer to recruit for someone to fill the other two days, may be a more reasonable alternative.
And she makes the point that flexible working can take many shapes, including flexitime, home working, job sharing or even shift or contract working.