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Flexible Working Hours

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It was only a few months ago when several changes were made to the Flexible Working hours scheme. At Stipendia, we’ve decided to give you all you need to know on the scheme and give you some insight into what the scheme is.

What is Flexible working?

Flexible working is a term to describe a type of working arrangement which gives the employee some degree of flexibility on how long, where, when and at what time they work. This flexibility can be in terms of working time, working location or the pattern of working.

Common kinds of flexible working include:

  • Part-time working – For example, an employee might start work later and finish early in order to take care of children after school
  • Flexi-time – Employees may be required to work within essential periods but outside ‘core times’ they often get flexibility in how they work their hours
  • Job-sharing – Typically, two employees share the work normally done by one employee
  • Working from home – New technology makes communication with office and customers possible by telephone, fax and email from home, car or other remote locations
  • Term-time working – An employee on a permanent contract takes paid or unpaid leave during school holidays
  • Staggered hours – Employees in the same workplace have different start, finish and break times – often as a way of covering longer opening hours
  • Annual hours – This is a system which calculates the hours an employee works over a whole year. The annual hours are usually split into ‘set shifts’ and ‘reserve shifts’ which are worked as the demand dictates
  • Compressed working hours – Employees work their total agreed hours over fewer working days – for example, a five-day working week is compressed into four days
  • Shift working – Shift-work is widespread in industries which must run on a 24-hour cycle, such as newspaper production, utilities and hospital and emergency services.

The right to flexible working hours was originally introduced for parents of young and disabled children. However, as of 2007, this was extended to cover carers of adults. Any application to work flexibly can cover an employee’s:

  • Hours of Work
  • Times of Work
  • Place of work (as between home and place of business only)

Who can apply for flexible working?

Firstly, the applicant must be an employee with a contract of employment. This does mean that agency workers or members of the armed forces are not eligible. The employee must:

  • Have a child 16 and under (disabled child under 18)

o   To qualify, this means the employee must have parental responsibility of the child, whether it be biological parents or legal guardians, etc.

  • Be the carer for an adult as defined by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)
  • Have worked for their employer for 26 weeks continuously at the date that the application is made
  • Not have made another application to work flexibly under the right during the past 12 months.

How must the application be made?

In order to comply with the requirements of the application, an applicant must submit the application in writing, confirming:

  • The employee’s relationship to the child or adult.
  • The proposed start date

Applications may take 12-14 weeks so an applicant must allow time for this.

  • Whether a previous application has been made

The application must also be dated and explain what effect the employee thinks this will have on the employer’s business and how this may be dealt with.

Employers are told to deal with every application seriously and in a ‘reasonable manner’. This can include:

  • Assessing the advantages and disadvantages of the application
  • Holding a meeting to discuss the request with the employee
  • Offering an appeal process

Key Contact: Lynne Auton
Tel: (0845) 308 2288
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