Every year across the UK parents juggle childcare arrangements, as schools are out for the summer, it can be fraught with stress and bring upheaval in households, not to mention the financial burden too, just how can you manage holidays and working in your workplace?
As an Employer you may have been faced with requests or will do so at short notice over the coming weeks as parents’ plans go awry, we take a look at your legal obligations, best practice, and how you can manage the situation. We also know how popular Hybrid Working Models are, we take a look at dispelling the myths around who can take a hybrid approach to working and the legal stance.
As an Employer what should I do to accommodate Employees?
As an Employer, it is of course best practice to ensure that your Employee’s balance their work and home life, and you should be willing to consider requests from Employee’s to vary their working hours or work patterns.
You can do this in many ways.
In our latest news we will take a look at ways in which you can help your Employees and of course your legal obligations
What are my legal obligations?
As an Employer, you need to be aware that with effect from 30 June 2014 any Employee with at least 26 weeks’ service has the right to make a request to work flexibly, and contrary to popular belief this is for any reason.
You must comply, and act in accordance with 80F of the Employment Rights Act 1996.
Your Employees upon meeting the eligibility can apply to you formally, you must then consider this application considering the impact on your business, fellow Employees, and any other relevant factors.
Working Flexibly can work in many ways, individual circumstances vary, and this may be on a temporary, or permanent basis, examples of these are:
- Job sharing – Two people do one job and split the hours.
- Working from home – It might be possible to do some or all of the work from home or anywhere other than the normal place of work.
- Part-time – Working less than full-time hours (usually by working fewer days).
- Hybrid Working (Compressed hours) – Working full-time hours but over fewer days.
- Flexitime – Your Employee chooses when to start and end work (within agreed limits) but works certain ‘core hours, for example, 10am to 4pm every day.
- Annualised hours – Your Employee has to work a certain number of hours over the year, but they have some flexibility about when they work. There are sometimes ‘core hours’ which Your Employee regularly works each week, and they work the rest of their hours flexibly or when there’s extra demand at work.
- Staggered hours – Your Employee has different start, finish, and break times from other Employees.
You will note that we have added Hybrid working into the list above, let’s dispel the myth, Hybrid working is not new, it has existed for some time, it is simply working ‘compressed hours, it is, therefore, covered under 80F of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and subject to eligibility an Employee can apply for hybrid working in your workplace.
What are the eligibility criteria for any flexible working models?
Any Employee with at least 26 weeks’ service has the right to make a request to work flexibly, we repeat that contrary to popular belief this is for any reason as detailed above.
Any Employee on a temporary, or permanent basis can apply.
Only one application may be made in any 12-month period.
As an Employer you must consider their request to do so, you should consider the 8 factors.
Your Employee should not expect the process to last longer than 3 months (unless agreed otherwise).
How do I process the application?
As part of the application process, you should have a formal application form (we can provide this to you), as an Employer you must take into consideration the following 8 factors:
- The current operational needs of the Department/Business or area where your Employee works;
- The burden of any additional costs is not unacceptable to the Business or the Department;
- Whether the proposal would create an inability to reorganise work amongst existing Employees;
- Whether the proposal would have a detrimental effect on the business’s ability to meet customer demand;
- Assessment of tasks during the periods of the proposed new work pattern;
- Where you have any planned structural changes, for example, where you intend to reorganise or change your business;
- Following an assessment where it is felt there may be a detrimental impact on performance; and or
- Where it is considered, the change will have a detrimental impact on quality, and or Customer Service will be impacted.
Once you have considered these 8 factors you must meet with your Employee, to discuss the application in detail.
The process should last no longer than 3 months (unless agreed otherwise).
Any outcome accepted or refused must be advised by way of correspondence, if refused you must offer the right to appeal the decision.
Do I need to accept my Employees Application?
As an Employer you should have a policy and procedure in place, you should also have an application process (this can be included in your (policy and procedure), this should outline the steps that your Employee should take, and the outcome/s, these would be:
- The application is fully accepted
- The application is partially accepted
- The application is declined
What other leave can my Employees take?
There are other types of leave your Employees can and may take to assist at this time of year, here are a couple of practical examples:
- Holiday entitlement – statutory holiday entitlement for an Employee working 5 days (or full time) is 20 days + the usual bank/ public holidays of 8, meaning their full entitlement for the year would be 28 days or 6 weeks. As an Employer you can provide contractual holiday entitlement, you should always refer to an Employees Contract of Employment for details of this. If your Employee works part-time the entitlement would be prorated based on their hours of work and or days.
- Your Employees are legally entitled to take a reasonable amount of time off to deal with certain prescribed emergencies involving certain dependants, this is Dependants leave.
Time off for Dependants can be taken, for example, if a dependant falls ill or is injured, if care arrangements break down, or to arrange or attend a dependant’s funeral.
A dependant can be:
- The child of the Employee (including adopted child);
- It also includes someone who resides in the same household; and
- Someone who is reasonably reliant on the Employee, such as an elderly relative.
Any time taken off must be necessary and reasonable in particular circumstances.
Time off for Dependants can be paid or unpaid, this is wholly dependent on your internal policy.
- As an Employer you may wish to grant a Career Break, once again you should have a policy in place to deal with the application (we can help with this).
What if I cannot agree to any of the leave due to business needs?
As an Employer we would suggest that you consider all options, it would be wise to seek the support of HR, should you not have in-house HR we would advise you to make contact with us, and we can then advise you in more detail on how to manage the situation.
We are available 365/24/7 on 0333 0069489 or [email protected]
We can assist with this, how to manage flexible working applications, and policy writing in your workplace and are looking forward to speaking with you very soon.
This article contains a general overview of information only. It does not constitute, and should not be relied upon, as legal advice. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter.
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