To be able to make a Statutory Flexible Working Request, you must have been employed for at least 26 weeks with your current employer. But what happens if you are not eligible? Read on for more information.
What Is Flexible Working?
Traditionally, you had to attend your place of work in order to complete your duties. However, the idea of flexible working was originally introduced as a way of accommodating employees who had childcare responsibilities at home. This has now been extended and all employees can request flexible working regardless of their circumstances. Everyone has different responsibilities in their personal life and the concept of flexible working is designed to make the work life balance easier for the employee. Quite simply, flexible working takes us away from the traditional “9 to 5” at your place of work.
There are different types of flexible working and, ultimately, it depends on what suits your situation best. Some of the most common examples of flexible working options are: –
- Part time working (a reduction in your normal working hours)
- Working from home (for some or all of your working hours)
- Job sharing (sharing a single role between two or more employees)
- Annualised hours (completing an annual number of hours rather than set weekly hours – usually beneficial where the business has seasonal variations or the employee wants to work more hours on some weeks of the year, eg during school term time)
- Compressed hours (working your full weekly working hours but over fewer days, eg working 35 hours a week over 4 days rather than 5)
There are two ways in which you can make a Flexible Working request: –
- You can make a Statutory Flexible Working Request, which is made in accordance with relevant legislation, or
- You can make a Non-Statutory Flexible Working Request.
This blog considers Non-Statutory Flexible Working Requests. If you are eligible to make a Statutory Flexible Working Request, please see my blog at https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/flexible-working-what-are-my-rights/
If you are not eligible to bring a statutory flexible working request, you can always make a non-statutory request.
There is no eligibility criteria to be able to make a non-statutory flexible working request.
When Can I Make A Non-Statutory Request?
You can make a non-statutory request at any time, you do not have to have any particular length of service with your employer to be able to make a request. In addition, there is no limit on the number of requests you can make in any 12-month period.
How Do I Make A Non-Statutory Request?
Firstly, you should check whether your employer has a Flexible Working Policy. If they do, the policy will likely contain information about how to make a non-statutory Flexible Working Request.
In the absence of any policy, there is so set format your request has to take or set information your request has to contain. However, to ensure your employer has enough information to properly consider your request, you should include at least the following information:-
- The working arrangements you are requesting,
- When you want the working arrangements to come into effect,
- An explanation as to how you think your proposed changes would affect your employer and colleagues and how those affects can be dealt with.
Whilst it is not a requirement, you should consider and explain how your requested flexible working arrangements would affect your employer and colleagues. You will not be expected to know exactly what effects it could have, but you need to demonstrate you have given it some thought.
You do not have to give your employer an explanation as to why you want the changes to your working arrangements, however, sometimes it can help your employer understand the need for your request better which would make them more likely to agree.
What Happens Next?
Unless your employer has an internal policy outlining how they will deal with non-statutory requests, there is no set process on what will happen next. Again, it is possible your employer will request a meeting with you to ensure they have all the relevant information. There is no set timescale for them to respond to your request.
When Can My Employer Refuse My Non-Statutory Request?
There are no set situations when an employer can or cannot refuse your Non-Statutory Flexible Working Request.
An employer should still consider your Non-Statutory Flexible Working Request fairly. Failure to do so may give rise to a different Employment Tribunal Claim. For example, if you have a disability and you are making a Non-Statutory Flexible Working Request to work from home more often as it is difficult for you to travel to the office every day, failing to properly consider and allow your request could give rise to a Disability Discrimination and a failure to make reasonable adjustments claim.
What Happens If My Request Is Successful?
If your employer has agreed to your Non-Statutory Flexible Working Request, you will have successfully varied your Terms and Conditions of Employment. The duration of your amended working arrangements will be dependent on what you requested and agreed. Usually, the change will be a permanent change to your working arrangements, unless you have agreed otherwise with your employer.
This is a permanent change (unless you have agreed otherwise) and you have no right to revert to your former way of working.
Assistance from Lincs Law Employment Solicitors
If you want to change your working arrangements, but are not sure how to go about it, please call us on 01522 440512 to have a free initial consultation with one of our specialist employment solicitors. Alternatively, if your employer is trying to change your hours and you do not want to agree, please visit our blog: https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/can-my-employer-reduce-my-pay-or-hours-because-of-coronavirus/
Managing Director, Specialist Employment Solicitor
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors
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