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The government has now extended the right to request flexible working to all employees who have 26 or more weeks’ service with their current employer. The right was previously reserved for employees who cared for an adult dependent or cared for a child aged 17 or under (18 if the child was disabled).
Employees who wish to request flexible working must put their request in writing, including detailing the changes they desire (e.g. working from home or part-time working) and the effect they think it would have on the employer.
Employers must deal with a request in a “reasonable manner”, and they must notify the employee of their decision within three months of the request being made. To deal with a request in a reasonable manner an employer will probably need to hold a meeting to discuss the request and should inform the employee of their decision within a time that is practical.
Andrea O’Hare, Head of Employment Law at Citation Professional Solutions, said: “Employers may struggle with the new changes as the Acas Guide recommends that employers should deal with requests on a first come first serve basis. To ensure that they deal with all requests fairly they must have the correct procedures in place. It must be stressed that an employer does not necessarily have to approve a request if they do not feel it fits with the needs of the business, but there are only eight ‘fair’ reasons for turning down a request.”
Alastair Hall, Head of Health and Safety at Citation Professional Solutions, reminds businesses of their legal obligations to support and protect workers from the serious health risks on site:
“With Fees for Intervention being in place, health and safety failures identified by the HSE inspectors visit will result in a costly outcome. It’s important for those in the Construction industry to be proactive when it comes to Health & Safety – often it’s relatively simple steps and procedures that will protect the employee’s health and the business reputation and bottom line”.
For more information on how Citation can help your business deal with the extension of the right to request flexible working get in touch with us.
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