By law, all companies now have to offer flexible working to all the employees, a right that was previously reserved for carers and those looking after children. No doubt the new laws will create a stir for both employers and employees alike. With this legal requirement parents, carers, those who require flexible hours will no longer be given priority. How will businesses decide whose requests will be accepted and whose will be rejected?
The aim of this legal requirement is to encourage long term employment and retain staff regardless of their circumstances outside of work, there is nothing to stop employers from rejecting the request as long as they can come up with a valid legal reason.
If there is an opportunity for employees to adjust the hours they work, whether that be working from home, working condensed hours or job sharing a company should be able to accommodate, it doesn’t mean they have to.
There is a lot of attention on the want and need for a healthy work life balance, though in reality for some companies it is not always possible to offer a balance that works in line with their employees and still be able to have a fully functioning business. Employers are concerned that they are at risk of employment tribunals if a request is rejected.
In the past I’ve talked about how returning from maternity leave my sister’s request for flexi hours was denied based on a number of unclear and constant changing reasons. At least with this law employers will have to provide clear and legal reasons for rejecting a request.
I’m not sure if the new laws will make any difference to the number of companies who will allow flexi hours, we’ll see. I’m off to go and submit my request for flexible hours 😉