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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Carer’s Rights to Flexible Working

Your right to request flexible working

The Edith Ellen Foundation has aimed to reduce The Flexible Working policy down to enable all to understand and work within its limitations.

Flexible Working can allow you to manage both your work and caring responsibilities.

The following is a brief description on employee rights to flexible working, time off in emergencies and parental leave.  The right to request flexible working has now been extended from some carers and parents to cover all employees with 26 weeks’ service or more.  The request can cover changing hours, times or places of work.

Some employers provide better rights to flexible working that the basic rights outlined in this guidance so it’s a good idea to check your contract of employment as it may provide you with better entitlement.

How do I make a request?
The law gives you the right to make one application a year for flexible working so it is important that you put forward the best case you can.

However, your employer may be sympathetic if you find your circumstances have changed and you need to make a further application.

The request to work flexibly must be made in writing, dated and include:
** An outline of the working pattern you would like
** An explanation of the effect, of any, you think the proposed change might have on your job and, how you think this could be dealt with.  You should think about how the proposed change could meet the needs of your employer.
** The date on which you would like the proposed change to start
** A statement that it is a flexible working request
** Whether you have made any previous requests, and if so the date of that request.

You are not required to give reasons why you are making the request, but it may help your application if you give as much information as possible.

Nor do you have to provide proof of your circumstances, i.e. that you are a carer, but again the more details you can give the better your chances of success may be.

Examples of flexible working
** Flexi-time 
Employees may be required to work within set times but outside of these 'core hours' have some flexibility in how they work their hours.

** Home working or teleworking
Teleworking is where employees spend part or all of their working week away from the workplace. Homeworking is just one of the types of teleworking.

** Job sharing
Usually two employees share the work normally done by one person.

** Part-time working
Employees might work shorter days or fewer days in a week.

** Term-time working
Employees don’t work during school holidays and either take paid or unpaid leave or their salary is calculated pro-rata over the whole year.

** Shift-swapping or self-rostering
Employees agree shifts among themselves and negotiate with colleagues when they need time off with the process being overseen by managers.

** Staggered hours
Employees have various starting and finishing times meaning that goods and services are available outside traditional working hours.

** Compressed hours
Employees work their total hours over fewer working days e.g. a ten-day fortnight is compressed into a nine-day fortnight.

** Annualised hours
Employees’ hours are calculated over a whole year and then split into ‘fixed shifts’ and ‘reserve shifts’ which can be agreed on a more flexible basis.

Can my employer refuse my request?
Your employer has a duty to deal with your request as soon as possible, within a reasonable time, in a reasonable manner, and must give careful consideration to your request. Your employer can only refuse your request if they have good business reasons for it and this should be explained in writing, including relevant and accurate facts.

The business reasons for refusing a request are:
** burden of additional costs
** inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff;
** inability to recruit additional staff
** detrimental impact on quality or performance
** detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
** insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work
** planned structural changes

Your employer must consider and make a decision on your request within three months of receiving it from you, unless you agree to an extension.

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