From 30 June 2014, the right to request flexible working was extended to all employees with 26 weeks' service. Previously, it was restricted to employees wishing to care for either a child under the age of 17 or a dependent adult. The current statutory procedure for dealing with requests will be replaced by a requirement to deal with any requests in a reasonable manner.
30 June 2014
Employers should consider amending their existing policies to confirm the new legislation applies to all employees with 26 weeks' service. An employee can complain to an Employment Tribunal if his/her employer does not consider his/her request in a reasonable manner or fails to identify one of the eight permitted reasons for refusal. Employers should therefore consider all requests carefully and consistently by reference to business needs. Most importantly, employers need to be alert to requests which, if refused, could trigger a claim of indirect discrimination – e.g. by a woman who wishes to alter her working hours to accommodate parenting responsibilities.