Employers are likely to face an increase in the number of requests for flexible working and potentially competing requests. Always follow the same procedure for all requests and avoid making value judgements
Bolton, Lancashire (PRWEB) June 30, 2014
Established in 2001, Personnel Solutions provide help and advice with employee relations and contracts.
Jane Carroll who has been a partner at the Manchester HR firm since January 2006 provides help to the following industry sectors: Social Enterprise, professional services, manufacturing, education, charities and construction.
Jane holds a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management and has an Advanced Professional Diploma in Employment Law.
Mrs Carroll is also a Chartered member of the CIPD.
Jane said, “We were aware of the impending law changes in flexible working some time ago and due to the potentially damaging effect we decided to notify our customers and launch the new service last month.”
The North West based HR consultants specialise in the following:
Business and process design and restructure
The changes to Flexible working are effective from today (30th June 2014).
All employees who have been employed for 26 weeks have the right to request to work flexibly, not just those with children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and certain carers.
“Not only has the Government extended the right to request flexible working to all employees, but it has removed the current statutory procedure for considering requests. Instead employers now have a duty to consider all requests in a reasonable manner; however employers will still have the flexibility to refuse requests on business grounds” explained Jane.
ACAS have now drafted a practical code of practice to help employers deal with the requests under the new rules.
The changes are as follows:
1. All employees employed for 26 weeks have the right to request flexible working.
2. Requests must be dealt with ‘as soon as possible’ and within a three month timescale.
This timescale includes any time for hearing an appeal. There are no strict timescales for each stage of the process.
3. The strict statutory process of meetings is removed although the ACAS code of practice suggests that a similar process is followed. Essentially this involves inviting the employee to a meeting to discuss, allowing the employee to be accompanied at any meeting, informing the employee in writing of any decision and allowing the chance to appeal.
The following stay the same:
1. Employees can still make up to one written request per year.
2. Requests must still be made in writing setting out that the application is made under the statutory provisions; what the change is that the employee is seeking and what effect the employee thinks the proposal will have and how any effects should be dealt with.
3. Employers can refuse a request on any of the existing eight business grounds.
“Employers are likely to face an increase in the number of requests for flexible working and potentially competing requests. Always follow the same procedure for all requests and avoid making ‘value judgements’ if you receive competing requests. Make sure you assess each request on the needs of the business and not on what you consider to be more worthwhile” advises Jane.
A consistent and fair process must be followed for all requests to reduce exposure to claims of a failure to comply (compensation is 8 weeks pay capped at £464 per week) and even discrimination, which risks unlimited compensation.