From next Monday (30 June), the right to make a flexible working request is being extended to all employees with at least 26 weeks' service.
At the same time, the rather prescriptive statutory procedure for dealing with requests is being removed so that employers must simply ensure that the request is dealt with “in a reasonable manner” and concluded within 3 months.
Whilst this does give employers more discretion on how to manage the process, ACAS has produced a statutory Code of Practice to help employers understand their obligations.
The Code cannot be ignored, and will be taken into account by employment tribunals when considering claims.
As with the current regime however, the main risk in refusing a request continues to be that of discrimination claims.
You need to ensure that you have clear processes and policies in place, as well as proper training for line managers in recognising and dealing with requests.
This article was written by David Green.
For more information please contact David on +44 (0)20 7203 5066 or email@example.com