There may be little flexibility in the process for dealing with flexible working requests according to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in a recent case. Here’s the need-to-know detail:
After the employer had rejected a flexible working request, an appeal hearing to review that decision was delayed beyond the three-month time limit. Despite the employee’s agreement to attend the appeal hearing, the employee claimed there was a breach of flexible working legislation. The EAT agreed, holding that the employee had consented to attend a delayed appeal hearing, but not an extension to the three-month period that the employer had to deal with the request.
Agreements in writing – you can legitimately extend the three-month decision period (if required) with the employee’s specific agreement. Secure the employee’s agreement in writing to avoid any potential confusion or arguments to the contrary.
Don’t delay – the government are proposing to allow employees to request flexible working from the first day of their employment and to reduce the current three-month decision period. Following the case above and the proposed changes on the horizon being diligent with your decision-making is now even more important.
Metrics – don’t forget that no matter how quickly you respond to requests, being armed with clear, objective metrics is paramount to justify any requests you turn down.
If you need advice or support in managing flexible working requests – Intelligent Employment is here to help. Find out more.