You may have seen stories in the press recently about the right to request flexible working. This right is nothing new and employees with 26 weeks continuous service have been able to request flexible working arrangements under Section 80F of the Employment Rights Act 1996 for many years. You can make one request in any 12-month period.
Under new proposals, which the government are currently seeking consultation on, employees would have the right to make a flexible working request from day one of their employment.
Examples of flexible working rights might include:
- changing the hours the employee is required to work;
- changing the times when the employee is required to work; and/or
- changing where the employee is required to work.
An employer is not obliged to agree to a flexible working request. The legislation does, however, require that an employer gives ‘reasonable consideration’ to such a request. Failure to do so can lead to Employment Tribunal action. Where a request cannot be granted then it must be turned down based on one of a number of specified grounds and details of this should be provided to the employee.
The focus of the current consultation is on extending the right to request flexible working to individuals from day one of their employment, rather than on addressing the ease with which a request can be refused. This is frustrating from an employee’s perspective, as being given the right to ask for something is a very different right to actually being entitled to something. However, flexible working rights is an area where there could be some change, so watch this space.
If you have a question about flexible working, or any other aspect of employment law then our employment team can help. Here at Beecham Peacock we have a trusted relationship with some of the largest trade unions in the country to protect your working rights. For further information call us on 0191 232 3048 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.