Every month we are delighted to feature a guest blog and this month Amanda Longden from The-HR-Company.co.uk writes about ‘Flexible Working’
As the traditional working hours between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm working are becoming more outdated, Flexible Working is a way of working that suits many employees’ and employers’ needs. For example, having flexible starting and finishing times, part-time working, job share, or working from home. However flexible working rules and guidelines are different in Northern Ireland.
Technology allows more and more employees to work from home, thereby reducing commuting times, and improving efficiency. The knock-on effect for the employer may also be seen in a reduction in the cost of office space. Flexible working is increasingly seen as an important non-financial benefit, which can help with employee engagement, retention and productivity. Employers are also using ‘flexible working’ as a tool for recruitment and it’s proving to be an attractive proposition for enlisting and engaging new staff.
But flexible working isn’t just for those juggling work and family lives. For the more mature workforce, people are working longer and individuals don’t always want to just bring their working life to an abrupt halt. They can phase themselves into retirement working reduced hours and continuing in the same role. Flexible working also enables individuals to stay healthier longer and so they can keep working. Financial rewards at pensionable age is a bonus and an organisation can continue to keep the loyal employee who has built up a knowledge base and an abundance of valuable experience working for the same organisation for many years.
Every employee has the right to request to work flexibly after 26 weeks of employment. Employers must deal with such requests as soon as possible and in a ‘reasonable manner’. This includes
- carefully considering the request, assessing the advantages and disadvantages of the application
- approving the request or holding a meeting to discuss the request with the employee, allowing them to be accompanied
- notifying the employee of your decision
- offering an appeal process if the request is rejected
Acas.co.uk have produced a download for handling requests in a reasonable manner View here. Download ‘Acas code of practice for handling requests in a reasonable manner’ (PDF, 175KB)
If an employer doesn’t handle a request in a reasonable manner, the employee can take them to an employment tribunal.
An employer can refuse an application if they have a good business reason for doing so, which must be on one of the permitted grounds.
At The HR Company, we will make sure that you have compliant policies and procedures, and keep your business up-to-date with current legislation and provide you with appropriate advice and support when you need it. For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org and view our website www.the-hr-company.co.uk