If an employee requests a change to their place of work, hours of work, or days of work, this will need to be done through a flexible working request. A flexible working request from an employee must be dealt with appropriately, and employers should have an effective policy in place to deal with such requests.
It is good business practice to include a flexible work policy in the company handbook. The policy should clearly outline the internal procedure for submitting a flexible working request and how to implement the proposed changes.
In requesting a flexible working arrangement, an employee can ask to change any current working arrangement on a permanent or set time basis, and for any purpose including caring for children. It is important to remember that any employee can make a request for flexible work arrangements – even if they do not have a child to care for.
The request must be in writing, and must state:
An employer has an obligation to consider every flexible working request, and must reply, in writing, no later than one month after the request is received. While an employee has the right to request a flexible working arrangement, an employer has the right to reject any request provided there is a good business reason for declining, or if the request is not consistent with the terms of an applicable collective employment agreement. In declining a request, an employer should inform the employee of the reason/s in writing.
Where an application for flexible working arrangements does not contain the information required to enable an employer to make a decision, the employee should be informed as soon as possible.
There are certain business-related grounds where an employee can refuse the request for flexible hours. These include:
To decline a request, employers must clearly explain why the request was declined and refer to the business-related grounds for refusal.
After a flexible working request has been approved, an employee cannot simply revert back to their ordinary hours when they choose to do so. While a new working arrangement will not necessarily be permanent, an employee must make another official request to end the agreement.
Flexible working arrangements are more than just a growing trend, they’re good for business.
Companies that allow employees to adjust their working hours have reported benefits such as:
For assistance in implementing flexible working agreements, contact Employsure on 0800 675 700.