June 30th will be a landmark day in the world of employment. On this last day of June, the right to request flexible working will officially become law.
UK employees will have the legal right to ask for a flexible working schedule, which means the employer has a legal obligation to answer the worker’s request. Additionally, the employers must provide a written, valid reason if they cannot agree to a flexible schedule.
Flexible scheduling encompasses things like compressed hours, flexi-time, home working, job-sharing, staggered hours and term-time only working.
Currently, the right to request a flexible work schedule is reserved for parents of children under the age of 16 and
those registered as careers for children or adults, which may make their home situation better. On June 30th any worker will have the right to make this request, however, it is important to note that this is just a request.
Employers will still need to follow all the processes they have now when a worker requests a flexible working schedule. This entails a meeting to discuss the application and a written explanation of why such a working pattern would suit the organisation.
There are also different kinds of conditions to the application process. The application must be made by someone who has been employed for 26 continuous weeks of employment and the law will not be applicable to agency workers or members of the armed forces. Also, the worker must not have made another request to work flexibly under the Right to Request Legislation in the preceding year.
The employer does have the right to reject the request, they can refuse in the event that the company would have to incur additional costs, have an effect on the ability to meet customer demand, have an effect on quality or performance or have unplanned structural changes. The company can also refuse if it had an inability to recruit new staff and/or an inability to reorganise work.
Regardless of the company’s decision, all requests must be decided within a three-month period (unless an extension is agreed upon).
HR experts are proposing that company’s prepare for this new law by updating their existing flexible working policies, creating a clear and concise explanation and providing training for management.