– Extending the right to request flexible working arrangements to all employees (not just those with caring responsibilities) from the beginning of their employment.
– Removing the limit on the number of requests an employee may make over a 12-month period.
– Reducing from three months to one month the response time for an employer to consider a flexible working arrangement. collective agreement or if there are recognised business grounds for refusal.
Approving a request
An employer must deal with a request as soon as possible, but not later than 1 month after receiving it, and must notify the employee in writing of whether his or her request has been approved or refused.
Employers who, after considering a request, agree with the new working arrangement, must notify the employee of their approval.
The agreed new working arrangement will be a permanent change to the employee’s terms and conditions of employment, unless agreed otherwise. Where the flexible arrangements are being trialled or a time-limit has been agreed this should also be detailed.
Declining a request
An employer may refuse a request only if the employer determines that the request cannot be accommodated on 1 or more of the following grounds specified.
– inability to reorganise work among existing staff:
– inability to recruit additional staff:
– detrimental impact on quality:
– detrimental impact on performance:
– insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work:
– planned structural changes:
– burden of additional costs:
– detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand.
However, an employer must refuse a request if:
– the request is from an employee who is bound by a collective agreement; and
– the request relates to working arrangements to which the collective agreement applies; and
– the employee’s working arrangements would be inconsistent with the collective agreement if the employer were to approve the request
The employer, when refusing an application must also:
– state the ground for refusal; and
– explain the reasons for that ground.
There will be circumstances where, due to the needs of the business, the employer feels they are unable to accept a request.