Flexible working – how far can you stretch?
From 30 June, all employees with 26 weeks’ service will have the right to request flexible working for any reason. There will be no obligation on the employer to agree to a request, just to consider it.
The current statutory procedure for dealing with requests is being abolished. Instead, employers will be able to use their own HR processes, provided requests are dealt with reasonably and decided on within three months (unless an extension is agreed). As is the case now, employers will only be able to refuse a flexible working application for one of the eight listed business reasons.
My article in Personnel Today looks at the extended right to request flexible working, focussing in particular on the tricky issue of prioritising competing requests and what steps employers should be taking now to prepare for the changes.