Flexible working has become more popular in recent years. With more ways of doing work remotely and recognition of the productivity and wellbeing benefits, have seen more employers offer it. Not only this, but it is now part of UK legislation.
With this being a part of employment law, employees can formally request flexible working. You should help with this process by having your own internal policy. This will allow more transparency and less confusion when requests are made.
Read below on how you can have a clear and compliant working from home policy, so you can ensure your employees have the best work-life balance.
What is flexible working policy and legislation?
In the UK legislation allows eligible employees to request flexible working arrangements. This can mean the following:
- Time of work (for example, requesting a change to start or finish times)
- Place of work (for example requesting to work at a different branch, or work from home)
- Hours of work (for example, requesting a reduction in working hours)
Employees do not have the right to flexible working on demand, but a right to submit a request to their employer.
If the request is agreed, the change will be a permanent change to the employee's contract, unless agreed otherwise.
Why include a flexible working policy?
Encouraging employees to use flexible working where possible has benefits to your business. Specifically, flexible working can be key for employee wellbeing, retention and productivity. So having a policy makes it easier for employees to apply, as they may feel they can’t if there are no official channels.
From an employment law perspective, it keeps things simple too. Changing contracts is a complicated process, so to ensure fairness, it is very important to maintain a flexible working hours policy.
What you should include in the policy
The policy should begin by outlining:
- What flexible working is
- What is the eligibility for taking it
- Why you’re committed to giving the opportunity to take it.
It should then outline how requests for flexible working will be considered and that whilst the company will endeavour to permit this arrangement wherever possible, it will also need to consider the potential impact on the business from doing so.
The policy should then make clear what the procedure is for making a request, including that it needs to be in writing and specify the following:
- State whether they have made a previous application under this procedure and, if so, when.
- Specify the change applied for and the date on which it is proposed the change should become effective.
- Explain what effect, if any, the employee thinks making the change applied for would have on the employer and how, in the employee’s opinion, they might deal with any such effect.
- Be signed and dated.
As part of the procedure, a meeting will be held with the employee to discuss the request in more detail. The policy should clearly specify that the request may not be approved straight away and could be subject to a trail period first.
Finally, the policy should also outline that the employee has the right to appeal against a decision to approve or deny a flexible working request.
Download our flexible working patterns policy template here
Peninsula provides sound HR advice and can help your business ensure all your policies are compliant, allowing you and your managers to spend time on more important aspects of the business.
Peninsula clients also get access to 24/7 HR consultation for safe working requirements. And if you are not yet a client, you can still enjoy free advice from one of our business specialists. Simply call us on 0800 028 2420.
For a flexible working hours policy template, please click the button.
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