As the Coronavirus vaccines continue to be rolled out over the next coming months and we continue following the road map out of lock down 3.0. Many employee’s will be thinking about the potential to return to work and/or to return to the office. This can cause mixed emotions for many, as the novelty of working from home may be preferred by a number of employees and even employers.
When discussing the potential of returning to work with your employees, it is important that you consider how they are feeling on the prospect of returning to an office environment after working from home for such a long period of time. Many people may feel anxious, worried, frustrated, excited, nervous.
What is flexible working?
As an employer you may receive some flexible working requests. Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, this may include the following:
- Reduce their hours to work part-time
- Change their start and finish time
- Have flexibility with their start and finish time (sometimes known as ‘flexitime’)
- Work their hours over fewer days (‘compressed hours’)
- Work from home or elsewhere (‘remote working’)
- Share their job with someone else
Do employee’s have a legal right to request flexible working?
The answer is yes, all employees not just parents and carers have the statutory right to request change to their working hours or place of work under the Employment Rights Act 1996. As set out in the ACAS code of practice for Flexible Working, any request from an employee must be made be in writing and by law the employee must fit the below requirements:
- Worked for you for at least 26 weeks
- They are legally classed as an employee
- They have not submitted any other flexible working request in the last 12 months
If your employee meets the requirements to submit a Flexible Working request, as the employer it is important to:
- Ask for the request in writing:
- Consider the request fairly and ensure you follow the ACAS Code of Practice in Flexible Working
- Discuss it with your employee
- Look at other options if the request is not possible
- Make a decision based on facts and not personal opinion
- Only turn down the request if there’s a valid business reason
- Give your employee a decision within 3 months of receiving the request
As an employer can I refuse a flexible working request?
Yes, as an employer you can refuse an employee’s request for flexible working, however it must be for one of the following business reasons, as set out in Legislation:
- The burden of additional costs
- An inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff
- An inability to recruit additional staff
- A detrimental impact on quality
- A detrimental impact on performance
- A detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
- Insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work
- A planned structural change to your business
Can an employee appeal the decision of refusal for Flexible Working?
Yes, an employee can appeal your decision, if this happens we strongly advice that you allow the employee to speak to you about the decision. This can be helpful as it may reveal new information or an omission in following a reasonable procedure when considering the application.
How can we help you?
At HR and You, we can guide you through the process and support you every step of the way when returning your employees back to the office or even returning them from Furlough. We provide and can draft all the documents on your behalf and be involved in the process as much or as little as you require.
With our all-inclusive People Box Package, this would be fully inclusive within the service we provide to you. No additional or hidden costs! You will have our support just a phone call away.
Why not take advantage of the 15% off our inclusive People Box Packages, if you sign up before the end of March 2021. We want to help you and support your business, in “Bringing out the absolute best in your people”! You will work with Trustworthy, Friendly, HR Professionals who absolutely love what they do.
Give us a call today on 0333 006 9489 or email us @ [email protected].
Author: Sophie Baker