The long awaited extension to the rules around flexible working comes into force on 30th June 2014. At the moment only employees with 26 weeks service who are either parents of children under the age of 16 (18 if they are disabled) or those with caring responsibilities for a spouse, relative or adult living with them are eligible to make the request. The procedure at present is also very prescriptive requiring employers to hold a meeting with the employee to discuss the requirement within 28 days and to provide a written outcome and there is the right of appeal with even tighter time limits of 14 days. The request must be turned down on one of the specific grounds which ACAS details in their draft code of practice for handing flexible working requests.
For requests made after 30th June 2014, employees will still need 26 weeks service but will no longer need to be a parent or have caring responsibilities. Any employee can make the request to have their application considered. Gone is the strict procedure for employers to follow which is instead replaced by the need to act reasonably and to inform the employee of the outcome within three months of the application request. Employers will still need to use one of the prescribed reasons to decline the application. The right remains the right to request flexible working rather than the right to have it.
22nd May 2014