As reported in an earlier Update, with effect from 6 April 2014 the right to request flexible working will become available to all employees. The current statutory procedure that employers are required to follow when considering requests for flexible working will be replaced by a duty to consider all requests in a reasonable manner. In February 2013 Acas issued a draft Code of Practice on the extended right to request flexible working and a consultation period followed. The final version of the Code should be published shortly. The draft Code sets out guidance as to how employers should deal with requests in a ‘reasonable’ manner and within a ‘reasonable’ time period, making use of the employer's existing HR procedures. Acas will also publish a non-statutory ‘good practice’ guide with practical examples of managing requests in the workplace including how to prioritise conflicting requests. Employers will still have the right to refuse requests on business grounds that are currently available i.e.
- the burden of additional costs
- an inability to reorganise work
- an inability to recruit additional staff
- a detrimental impact on quality or performance or to meet customer demand
- insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work
- a planned structural change to your business.