The Flexible Working (Eligibility, Complaints and Remedies) (Amendment) Regulations 2006 will come into force on 6 April 2007. They will amend the existing flexible working regulations by extending the right to request flexible working to carers of adults. Currently, the right is only available to parents of children under the age of six or disabled children under the age of 18.

From 6 April 2007 employees with 26 weeks continuous employment will have the right to request to care for an adult who is their spouse, partner or civil partner, relative or someone who lives at the same address. A “relative” includes a mother, father, adopter, guardian, parent-in-law, stepparent, son, stepson, daughter, stepdaughter, brother, stepbrother, brother-in-law, sister, stepsister, sister-in-law, aunt or grandparent.

“Carer” is not defined in the Regulations and a employer is not entitled to ask for proof of caring responsibility. The decision to grant a request must be made on business grounds and without regard to the employee’s personal circumstances. However, the Guidance that accompanies the Regulations does look at what may be regarded as “caring”. As well as the expected personal care caring can also mean emotional support, doing practical household tasks and helping with financial matters or paperwork.