Sometime this year, employers worst fears will be realised: EVERY employee will be able to request flexible working!
This is a change which was supposed to come into effect from April 2014, but somewhat strangely ACAS had not got the guidance finished on it in time, so the introduction of this new right has been delayed.
The key changes are that
– All staff have the right to request (not have) flexible working
– There is no longer a formal process that has to be followed.
Now I am not in favour of an absence of process. Why? Because in my (long, cynical) advisory capacity to employers, I have found that if there is not a process, then they are amazingly creative at doing almost the exact opposite of good practice. And then get upset when, having rejected a request, the employee is annoyed with them. What did they expect?
Our recommendation is that you use the framework of the flexible working approval process in future, amending the timelines to suit. There may be more explicit guidance from ACAS on this (eventually) but in the meantime let’s not reinvent the wheel!