Right to request flexible working comes into law
Companies are being urged to take note of the new flexible working law, which gives all workers with at least 26 weeks of service the right to request flexible working. The move will give individuals the statutory right to ask their bosses to change their contractual terms and conditions of employment in favour of a more flexible approach. It is hoped that the changes will improve the overall productivity of the workforce, with staff turnover and sickness-related absence being reduced. Currently, only parents of children under 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) are eligible to make a request for flexible working. Jennie Willott, minister for employment relations in the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, said employers who introduce flexible working will see tangible benefits. ‘For employees, the benefits of flexible working are obvious. A better chance to strike a balance between work and other commitments, a better work-life balance and a greater sense of being in control of your working life,’ she explains.
As well as widening the category of eligible employees, the statutory procedure contained in the Flexible Working (Procedural Requirements) Regulations 2002 will no longer apply. This will allow employers more flexibility in how they handle requests as long as the requests are dealt with in a ‘reasonable manner’ and the decision is notified to the employee within three months — including any appeal and/or appeal decision. Employers that fail to deal with a flexible working request in accordance with the required procedure risk facing an employment tribunal complaint. Failure to follow the correct procedure may result in a tribunal ordering the employer to reconsider the employee’s application and potentially pay the employee compensation…
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