Employees with 15 months’ service or more will be entitled to make an application for flexible working, meaning that they will be able to request a change to their working hours, times or location of work (i.e. to work from home instead of at the workplace). The reason for the change must be to enable to employee to “care for another person”.
The new statutory right enables eligible employees to make a request for flexible working, it does not give them an automatic right to change their hours etc.
A statutory procedure will be in place which employers must follow when a request is received. Firstly, however, the employee’s application must contain specific pieces of information, including what changes they are requesting and when they would like the change to come into effect. They must also set out the reason for the request.
Employers must invite the employee to a meeting to discuss the request, unless they are happy to authorise the request without holding a meeting. There is no statutory right to be accompanied at the meeting, though in some circumstances it may be advisable for employers to allow this. This meeting must be held within 28 days of the receipt of the application.
The outcome must be given within 6 weeks of the date of receiving the application. Requests may be refused, but only on certain grounds e.g. burden of additional costs; inability to re-organise work amongst existing staff etc. If the request is refused, the employee has a right to appeal it.
Only one statutory request is permitted per 12 months.
For more information, contact our Advice Service on 0844 892 2788.