Until the rules change on flexible working requests, it is business as usual with regard to the criteria that currently restricts who can make a request and who cannot – there are still a few months left under the current regime. Here, we explain the criteria, and the procedure, which will continue to apply until the summer time.

The employee must be the parent, adopter, guardian or foster parent of a child aged 16 or under (or below 18 if the child is disabled) and have, or expect to have, responsibility for the upbringing of the child; or be, or expect to be, caring for an adult who is the employee’s spouse/civil partner/near relative, or who lives at the same address as the employee.

When a request is received, the employer must hold a meeting with the employee within 28 days to discuss the request. The employee has the right to be accompanied to this meeting by a colleague. However, this meeting is not required if the employer knows without further discussion that they will agree the request.

Where a meeting is held, the employer should let the employee know in writing within 14 days of the meeting whether the request has been granted or not. A request can be refused as long as the refusal is on one of the accepted grounds which includes an effect on the quality and performance of the company. The reason for refusal should be identified in the written decision given to the employee.

The employee is entitled to appeal a refusal within 14 days of the notice of decision. If an appeal is made, the employer must hold a meeting with the employee to discuss the appeal within 14 days of the employee’s notice of appeal.

Within 14 days of the appeal meeting the employee needs a written, dated notice of decision. If the appeal is dismissed the notice should state the grounds for the decision and contain a sufficient explanation as to why those grounds apply.

Further clarification can be sought by contacting Peninsula on 0844 892 2772.