On 30th June 2014, the new rules concerning flexible working come into force. Employees still have to have 26 week’s service to make a request but no longer need to have parenting or caring responsibilities as they have done in the past. The request simply need to be made in writing, dated and state whether the employee has made a previous request and if so when. Only one application is permitted per year.
It is not all doom and gloom for employers either as the prescriptive process has been removed and employers need to instead act reasonably. The employer has longer to make a decision but must still only decline giving one or more of the statutory reasons as before. A breach of the scheme will still result in the possibility of eight weeks’ pay as compensation (capped like redundancy pay or the basic award) although declining a flexible working request may be linked to discrimination claims as before.
Employers will need to review their flexible working policies to ensure that they are up to date with the new provisions.