After 26 weeks employment, all employees now statutorily have the right to request flexible working and as an Employer you are legally obliged to consider this and go through a consideration and handling process.
As an employer you may groan about the extra bureaucracy and administration costs, however you should now be putting a flexible working policy in place whether you like it or not.
Government statistics show (“lies, damned lies and statistics” I hear you shouting!) that offering flexible working practices will lead to economic benefits through improved efficiency and employee satisfaction. There are also many business advocates who say that allowing greater flexibility will help motivate staff , increase productivity and reduce the hassle of staff turnover which may actually reduce costs.
It is also not a fait accompli. Although your employees have the right to request flexible working practices as an employer you still has the right to refuse if you have a valid business reason. It is a right to ask and not a right to have.
If you do reject the request it must be for one of the following business reasons as set out in the legislation:
- the burden of additional costs,
- an inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff
- an inability to recruit additional staff
- a detrimental impact on quality
- a detrimental impact on performance
- detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
- insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work
- planned structural change to your business
More details of the full request ,consideration and handling process can be found here.
Recent survey results by Citrix have shown that only 43% of SMB’s support the decision and 21% believe this will have a negative impact time. A survey by Fraser Young employment law specialists found 84pc of employers expect the new right to cause resentment among staff. More than half predict the change will adversely affect the day-to-day running of businesses.
My opinion for what it’s worth is rather than focusing on how many hours an employee has worked , put systems in place to ensure that their objectives are met ,focus on the quality of work and that your employees are actually enhancing your business. You may be surprised.