The possibility of Flexible Working rolled out to all employees from 30 June 2014

The Flexible Working Regulations 2014 were laid before parliament on 4 June and come into force on 30th June.

So flexible working is being extended to the whole work-force, as some of us have been predicting for years.   This usually means asking for a reduction in hours or days of work, often from full-time to part-time e.g. from 5 to 4 or 3 days working each week.  It is likely that this will arise where an older person wants to wind down and can afford to do so, as well as in the current common scenario of a mother or father wanting to cover child-care for part of the week.  ‘Flexible’ is a wide concept and can cover timing of days and hours, number of hours, location of work, sabbaticals etc.

They extend the right to make a request for flexible working to any employee who has been employed for 26 weeks (not just parents of children under 17, or 18 if disabled, and certain carers – as has been the limited right before June 2014).

The basic right to make a request is unchanged. Employees can make up to one written request every year, the employer needs to deal with it within three months, and can refuse on any of eight (very wide) business grounds. An Employment Tribunal cannot normally investigate the rights and wrongs of the refusal, only whether the procedure has been properly followed. Maximum compensation for a failure to comply is eight weeks’ pay (currently capped at £464 per week).