Flexible working: don’t fight it, embrace it

Changes to the rules on flexible working will soon come into force. In essence, the right to request flexible working is being extended to all employees with 26 weeks’ service (so no longer limited to parents of children under 17, or if disabled under 18, or to carers). Employers will be allowed to use their current HR procedures and must consider all requests in a reasonable manner and in a reasonable timescale (three months). That’s the legal speak over (and I pinched that from an online search).

At this point you may be asking: isn’t that pretty much what happens now? Well yes, but the right to request is just being widened to a broader population, so more people can ask (well nearly everyone can ask). Some people I have mentioned this to seem unfazed and employers retain the right to say no to any request. If you have the right approach in place to deal with requests, and deal with them fairly, then not a lot has dramatically changed. Other people worry about an onset of requests, an inability to accommodate them and having to say no.

We went to talk to a firm whose reputation in this field is first class, Lewis Silkin — and in particular their joint head of employment and partner Michael Burd and their director of people and knowledge Penny Newman. Many people, including one of the writers of this blog, will have benefited from Michael’s wise words over the years…

Click on the link below to read the rest of the Totum briefing.

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