Flexible Working 2014 Changes

10 Jul

30 June 2014 brought in a major update to the legislation on flexible working. Up until now, the right to request flexible working has only been the privilege of working parents to request an adjustment of their working arrangements to look after their children. There were set guidelines for how to request and how the request should be dealt with by employers.

The legislation was amended a number of times to cover older children and also dependant adults. The current legislation is considered by some to be a complete overhaul.


The change

Flexible working requests are now open to all employees with a minimum of 26 weeks service.

Employees are allowed to make one request only in any 12-month period.

The previous procedure for how employers should handle requests has been abolished. Request must now be dealt with ‘in a reasonable manner’. This usually involves holding a meeting with the employee to hear more about the nature of the proposed arrangements and to consider the benefits to both the employee and organisation.


Reason for requesting

Employees can have any reason to request a change. The amended guidelines make no provision relating to purpose for the request, however, employees do have to give serious consideration to their request because they have to provide clear justifications, they must also consider the business impact. An application can be rejected on one of eight ‘prescribed grounds’ only:

1. the burden of additional costs

2. an inability to reorganise work among existing staff

3. an inability to recruit additional staff

4. a detrimental impact on quality

5. a detrimental impact on performance

6. a detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand

7. insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work; and

8. a planned structural change to the business

An employer will be required to give clear reasons for rejecting a request.


Types of flexible working

There are many ways in which to work flexibly, these include:

• working from home,

• part time/compressed or flexi hours,

• job share


The benefits

The introduction and increased application of flexible working programs have been proven to have resulted in tangible improvements to recruitment, staff retention and employee engagement. All of these areas impact the bottom line.

Employees that are able to strike a good work-life balance are generally more motivated, engaged and have more loyalty to their employer.



The application must state:

• the date

• that is a statutory application

• the changes to employment terms and conditions being sought

• how the change may impact the employer’s business and how this can be limited


Our advice

• Update your flexible working policy

• Hold briefing sessions with managers and employees

• If in doubt, contact the Lotus HR team for guidance


If you’re looking for Human Resource services with a laser focus on protecting the bottom line, contact us for a zero cost consultation.


0208 150 9960