Time off to travel or term time working? How will your business approach the request?
by Linda Powell From 30 June 2014, ANY employee who has worked for your business for 26 weeks’ continuously can make a request for flexible working under the new arrangements. The new procedure for handling these requests is designed to be more flexible by providing a 3 month period to discuss, consider and notify the decision. The right is only a right to consideration of a request, it is not a right to be granted the request. The variation to their current terms could be vast and could include a change to the hours they work, where they are required to work i.e. at home or their place of work. Possible work patterns include part-time work, full-time work (if currently part-time), annualised hours, compressed hours, flexi-time, homeworking, job-sharing, self-rostering, shift-working, staggered hours and term-time working, among others. There are in fact very few limits on what the employee can request. The list of 8 business reasons for possible refusal of a request remains unchanged. However the employer may not be home and dry as the employee can still complain to an employment tribunal if they feel that their application was not handled reasonably, not notified within the correct period or doesn’t rely on one of the statutory grounds for refusal. What if the employer gets the process or business decision wrong, will they face a discrimination claim from the aggrieved employee? If you have recently received a request or are pre-empting receipt of a request, we can help you identify the correct process for handling the claim as well as identifying the business reason in your case.