Changes in 2014 to employment law mean that any employee who has a child under 16 years of age, or under 18 years of age with a disability, or an employee who is looking after an adult dependent, can request flexible working hours. These rules also extend to any employees who have adopted or are currently fostering.
What is flexible working?
Flexible working is working hours that deviate from the employee’s normal working pattern. For example, if an employee works regular office hours of 9am – 5pm, Monday through to Friday, they might request to work 9-3pm instead in order to pick up their children from school.
How does an employee request flexible working hours?
In order to request flexible working hours an employee must first send a written application to their employer detailing why they would like to change their working hours, how they wish to change them and when they would like the change to happen. They should also provide information of how they think any potential issues that might arise from the change could be prevented.
The employer should respond to the request, also in writing. If they agree with the request then they should detail the agreed changes and also provide a start date for the employee to commence their new working hours.
What if an employer refuses?
If an employer wants to reject an employees request for flexible working hours then they must have valid reason for doing so. This could be:
· Recruitment issues which mean they cannot replace the employee
· Work cannot realistically be shared among other staff members
· The flexible working hours will incur extra costs which would harm the business
· The business will be unable to cope with the needs of their customers
· The business is planning changes to their workforce
· Flexible working hours will damage the quality and performance of the business
· The working hours proposed aren’t busy enough for the employee to be working
Appealing against an employers decision
If an employee feels that they have been treated unfairly and that their request has been unjustly dismissed then they may be able to take their case to an employment tribunal. If you feel that you might have reasonable grounds to do so then you should consult with a trained legal professional for guidance and to discuss your options.
If you have issues surrounding Employment Law that you feel need resolving, you can contact Rollingsons on 020 7611 4848 or click here to find out more.