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Flexible working

Government to announce day-one right to flexible working

Posted on: September 22nd, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Tomorrow, the government is set to announce proposals for employees to have the right to request flexible working from their first day of employment. Here’s what you need to know:

Day-one – employees will no longer have to wait until they’ve been employed for 26 weeks before making a flexible working request. You will be obliged to consider requests from the first day of employment.

Responding to requests – the current three-month time period to respond to flexible working requests is set to be reduced meaning you’ll need to provide a quicker response.

Refusing requests – if you turn down an employee’s request, you will need to provide an explanation and suggest an alternative work arrangement. Subject to tomorrow’s full announcement, your refusal is likely to need more robust, objective justification than the current reasons for rejecting a request.

We’ll update you once the full detail has been provided and when we know the new right is set to come into force. If you need support in managing future flexibility and flexible working requests, Intelligent Employment is here to help. Find out more.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (22 September 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Future flexibility for all?

Posted on: September 9th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

A Unite union candidate has pledged to fight for the legal right for everyone to ask to work from home. Here are our thoughts…

Hybrid approach – not everyone wants to be at home all of the time – 55% of employees would be happy to split their time between home and the workplace. This could be down to difficulties creating boundaries, feeling compelled to put in more hours at home, or missing the cultural and collaborative value of spending time in person with colleagues.

Beyond homeworking – flexibility isn’t just working from home. Varying hours to start later or finish earlier, compressing hours into fewer working days, or working term-time only (to name a few) are all possibilities.

Tribunal troubles – a ‘one size fits all’ policy can be detrimental to specific groups (such as those with childcare responsibilities). A recent case highlights that employers are expected to identify the ‘childcare disparity’ still faced by women and address that within their policies.

Communication is key – working practices and preferences are constantly evolving – you aren’t expected to have all the answers! An open dialogue will help colleagues to share ideas and concerns, and to find a solution that works for all (including your business). Using trial periods to your advantage can help manage expectations and address adjustments (make any trial period clear at the outset).

If you need guidance or support in finding your flexibility, Intelligent Employment is here to help – find out how.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (9 September 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

“Childcare disparity” – new tribunal guidance

Posted on: July 20th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

It’s still accepted by tribunals that women face a “childcare disparity”. This case is a reminder that employers may face successful discrimination claims if their decisions put childcaring females at a detriment.

Background 

An NHS Trust introduced a new flexible working policy requiring all employees to work some weekends. This employee was unable to comply because of her childcare responsibilities for her three children (two with disabilities). She was subsequently dismissed and brought a claim for unfair dismissal and indirect discrimination.

Practical impact of the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s (EAT) decision

This means that when you consider introducing a provision, criteria or practice (PCP) potentially putting those caring for children at a detriment, you should bear in mind that the PCP opens the door to possible sex discrimination claims based on the EATs guidance. Your choices are to adjust the PCP so that there is no such detriment or be ready to objectively justify it.

While the EAT case centres around the introduction of a flexibility policy, it’s often the case that employers are faced with decisions that may put those caring for children at a detriment. If you received a furlough request from a female when schools were closed and decided to operate a blanket refusal, you could have found yourself on the wrong end of a sex discrimination claim (for the reasons set out by the EAT) in respect of which you may have needed to objectively justify the PCP.

Intelligent Employment is here to help if you need guidance and support introducing new flexibility policies- find out more

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (20 July 2021), but may be subject to change which may, or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

In a flexible working fix?

Posted on: July 13th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

If you’re in a flexible working fix here are our suggestions on a proactive approach to a solution that works for all.

Flexibility forum – you aren’t expected to have all the answers (if answers even exist!). A ‘flexibility forum’ enables you to ask your colleagues for their thoughts on tricky flexible working issues – how to ensure your approach is fair for all, what if it works for some and not others, how much flexibility should you offer?

Trial – a flexible approach to flexibility! Make it clear at the outset that your approach to flexible working is a learning and evolving process and tweaks may be made along the way (or it may be discontinued).

Clear communication – you’ll only know if your approach is working if you land your flexible working policy clearly and consistently. Write it down, communicate it, then communicate it again. We’ve added an agile working policy to Intelligent Employment – click here to find out more about accessing our document portal.

Review – once you’ve given it a go, come back to it, look at the metrics and analyse, and take it from there.

Intelligent Employment is here to help – find out how

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (14 July 2021), but may be subject to change which may, or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Flexible working – key considerations pt.2

Posted on: June 9th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

There’s loads to think about when considering whether flexible working can work for your business. 

We shared a ‘starter for 10’ in our last update, and here’s the second part of our ‘key considerations’:

  1. Do you need to carry out a risk assessment at the individual’s chosen place of work?
  2. Do you need to alter employment contracts to support the new arrangements?
  3. Do you need to introduce a policy to support the new way of working? Find out how to access ours.
  4. What will you do if the new flexibility works for some and not all, or if an employee’s performance declines?
  5. How will it impact your onboarding processes for new starters and how will they access effective support?
  6. How are you going to ensure that your information remains confidential?
  7. Do you need to update your existing insurance policies?

In our following updates, we’ll help you tackle these key considerations with practical solutions, and cover the legal framework you’ll need to follow if employees make requests for greater flexibility. We can also provide training for your managers on how to spot and deal with any requests for flexible working – find out more

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (10 June 2021), but may be subject to change which may, or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.