We previously reported that the Government planned to implement changes to the law on flexible working. The Flexible Working Regulations 2014 have now been laid before parliament and come into force on 30th June.
The Regulations revoke the current flexible working regulations , and extend eligibility to any employee who has been continuously employed for 26 weeks, regardless of whether they have responsibility for a child under 17 ( 18 if disabled) or a vulnerable adult, as was previously the case. The maximum amount of compensation for a breach of the statutory right to request is eight weeks’ pay (currently capped at £464 per week).
The changes replace the overly prescriptive “right to request” procedure with a general duty on employers to deal with any flexible working request “in a reasonable manner”. 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 business grounds. A tribunal cannot normally investigate the rights and wrongs of the refusal, only whether the procedure has been properly followed, although employers should remain wary of potential discrimination issues when refusing requests.
The new Regulations apply to a flexible working application made on or after 30 June 2014, with the existing Regulations continuing to apply to applications made before that date.
Our forthcoming Employment Newsletter has full details of the changes.