30 / 6 / 2014 11am
Our legal partners Capsticks summarise the application and meeting process for flexible working requests.
An employee must make the application to work flexibly in writing and should include the following information:
• The date of the application
• The change they would like to make
• When the change is to take effect.
The application should also set out what affect this change is likely to have on the employer, how this could be dealt with, a statement that the request is made under the statutory procedure and, if a previous request has been made, when this was.
The application should also state whether the request is made in conjunction with a right under the Equality Act 2010 (for example as a reasonable adjustment if an employee has a disability). Where this information is included in the application, employers will need to be mindful of the risk of discrimination claims under the Equality Act 2010 in rejecting a request.
We recommend that you now carry out a review of your current flexible working policies and that the information that is required to be included in the application is set out clearly.
If you intend to approve a flexible working request without further discussion a meeting is not necessary, but in all other cases you should arrange a meeting with the employee to discuss the matter further. There is no obligation that the meeting is face to face and can therefore take place by telephone.
It is recommended that you discuss in detail the reason for the request as it may be that a temporary amendment or career break is preferable to a permanent flexible working arrangement if the reason for the application is not long term.
While there is no longer a statutory right for the employee to be accompanied at this meeting, the ACAS code recommends that a companion is allowed and so we suggest that you allow a trade union representative or work colleague to attend the meeting and that the right to be accompanied is offered when arranging the meeting.