Financial & Legal News

Employers need to note new Flexible Working Regulations

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New Flexible Working Regulations come into force on 30th June 2014 as presented to Parliament in the recent Queens speech.

They extend the right to make a request for flexible working to any employee who has been employed for 26 weeks plus, not just parents of children under 17, or 18 if disabled, and certain carers - as was previously the case.

The basic right to request is unchanged. Employees can make up to one written request every year, but the employer needs to deal with it within three months, and can refuse on any of eight business grounds.

A tribunal cannot normally investigate the rights and wrongs of the refusal, only whether procedure has been properly followed.  Maximum compensation for failure to comply is eight weeks' pay (currently capped at £464 per week).

Head of Employment Law, Susan Mayall said:  “What this means is an employee who has worked for their employer for more than 26 weeks can request flexible working, however whilst there is a right to request, there is no right to demand flexible working.  Employers who follow a fair procedure and refuse the request because of business reasons will be unlikely to have a successful claim issued against them.

“In essence if employers receive a request for flexible working, subject to them following the correct procedure and considering the request, and not refusing the request for what could be deemed to be a discriminatory reason they can lawfully reject the request,” added Susan.

It would be advisable for employers to take legal advice if they receive such a request to ensure that they follow the correct procedure and understand on what grounds they can reject (or partly agree to if they choose) the request and also to be made aware of an consider whether there is a risk to them of an allegation of unlawful discrimination if they refuse.

The new Regulations apply to a flexible working application made on or after 30 June 2014. However, the 2002 Regulations will continue to apply to a flexible working application made before that date.

For further advice contact Head of Employment, Susan Mayall on 0161 785 3500 or susan.mayall@pearsonlegal.co.uk

 

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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