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27
Jun 14

Posted by
Laura Murphy

New Flexible Working Structure

On 30th June 2014, Flexible Working Regulations will be extended giving the right to request flexible working arrangements to all employees with 26 weeks service. Up until now only parents with children under 17 years, or 18 if the child is disabled, and certain carers were eligible to request flexible working.

Flexible working is a way of working that suits the employee’s needs e.g. having flexible start and finish times, working from home, part-time etc.

With the changes, the formal procedure for applying for flexible working has also been reduced to a minimum. However, some key requirements will still apply:

• Employees may only submit one written request in a 12 month period

• All requests must be dealt with in a “reasonable manner”

• All requests, including any appeals, must be fully dealt with within three months of receiving the initial application

• Any change to an employee’s terms and conditions will be a permanent change, with no right to revert to their original terms

• Employers can decline requests on eight (very wide) business grounds:

o Extra costs which will damage the business
o The business won’t be able to meet customer demand
o The work can’t be re-organised among other staff
o People can’t be recruited to do the work
o Flexible working will have an effect on quality and performance
o There’s a lack of work to do during the proposed working times
o The business is planning changes to the workforce


Generally, a tribunal will not investigate the rights and wrongs of a refusal, however they will look to see whether proper procedures have been followed. Maximum compensation for a failure to comply is eight weeks’ pay (currently capped at £464 per week).

Employers should be reviewing their internal policies and procedures to ensure that they comply with the amended legislation.

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