Employers who deal with a request to work flexibly in a reasonable manner and within applicable time limits, and whose decision does not breach discrimination law, may lawfully refuse a request that falls within a specified ground for rejection in the relevant legislation, a recent ruling makes clear.
Employers will welcome a new Acas guide helping them deal with employees who have suffered bereavement.
Employers will welcome new guidance on the upcoming legal right of employees to ask for time off for training, although smaller businesses have longer to prepare for introduction of the new law. Legal Alert, February 2010.
New flexible working rights, technologies and social change make working from home — sometimes called teleworking — an increasingly cost-effective and attractive option both for individuals and the organisations they work for. Some employees also have the right to request flexible working which you have to seriously consider.
Although the laws covering employment are extensive, the main issues for small and start-up businesses are fairly straightforward.
Given the number of changes to parental rights in recent years, employers could be forgiven for not knowing where they stand when one of their employees is pregnant or becomes responsible for a child. But with tribunals making large awards against employers who ignore the rules, you simply cannot afford to stick your head in the sand.
Balance business and family responsibility
Getting a new business off the ground and managing it on a day-to-day basis can be extremely demanding. It is even more challenging when you have family responsibilities to meet, such as bringing up children, caring for a child with disabilities or looking after elderly parents or relatives.
Comply with basic employment law
Most employers will tell you that they spend more time managing staff issues than anything else. It is certainly true that there are a wealth of regulations surrounding the employment of people — and some are incredibly complex.
Employees might like the sound of flexible working to give them a better work:life balance. But how flexible do employers really need to be?
Since 30 June 2014, almost all employees with at least 26 weeks' service have the right to ask for flexible working. You must consider requests in a reasonable manner and you can only refuse a request for one of the eight business reasons allowed by the legislation.
The rules surrounding leave for new parents have been overhauled several times with the aim of making it as flexible as possible for parents – and further changes are in the pipeline. From June 30 2014, all employees with 26 weeks' service will be entitled to request flexible working arrangements and from April 2015 new parents will be able to share new, flexible parental leave. But what are the new rules and what will that mean in practice?
Information, factsheets and advice on carers' rights. Carers UK campaigns 'for a better recognition of the true value of carers' contribution to society'.
Guidance from the UK Government's Gov.uk website on types of flexible working, asking for flexible working ('making a statutory application') and the appeals process if your employer turns down the request.
Flexible working: working for families, working for business (Family Friendly Working Hours Taskforce report)
Flexibility for the future: The government’s response to the recommendations of the family friendly working hours taskforce
The Family Friendly Working Hours Taskforce was a group established by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in 2009 representing business, employees and families, non-government bodies and government departments to 'provide expert perspective on flexible working practices and provide recommendations for change'.
Flexible working practices
Information and guidance from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), including a flexible working factsheet covering various forms of flexible working, its benefits and the law as well as advice for implementation.
Helping working parents achieve work-life balance
Working Families, the 'UK's leading work-life balance organisation', carries out research and runs campaigns to improve the balance between responsibilities at home and work and help employers to create workplaces which encourage work-life balance for everyone. Its website provides information and resources on issues of flexible and family friendly working arrangements for parents and carers as well as for employers.
The right to request flexible working
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) aims to improve employment relations in the UK and provides information, independent advice and training to solve problems and improve performance. This includes information and resources on flexible working.
Working hours, flexible working and time off (EHRC advice for employers)
Your rights to equality at work: working hours, flexible working and time off (EHRC advice for employees)
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) provides guidance for employers and employees on current legislation and best practice. The EHRC has also published a short guide to flexible working aimed at small business owners. This guide includes case studies, key principles for implementing new ways of working and a directory of useful contacts.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) provides access to a useful selection of links to TUC and external resources on flexible working, a booklet on flexible working for parents and a guide to family friendly working.
Articles and books in the Library collection
This is a selection of articles and reports in our collection which contain information on flexible working – click on the links to see our catalogue record and holdings for each item. Please contact us if you would like to borrow a book or request a copy of an article.
Shared parental leave: a guide
N.Choudry (LexisNexis, 2015, 24 pages)
This booklet examines some of the key elements of the new shared parental leave legislation, with which employers will have to be familiar.
Flexibility or insecurity? Exploring the rise in zero hours contracts
Brinkley, I. (The Work Foundation, 2013)
Topics covered in this report include: the nature of zero hours contracts and some issues of employment law, the growth of non-standard employment, the extent and nature of flexible working, a cross-sectional analysis of some characteristics of zero hours contracts, how zero hours contracts have changed over time and recommendations for policy and organisational responses.
When remote working really works
People Management, May 2013, pages 30-36
Yahoo! sees it as a skiver's charter. But with careful control and enlightened management, your staff needn't be tied to the office. Includes a checklist of how to make remote working actually work and "a beginner's guide" to working from home.
Find more articles and books
To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans. You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post, fax or email through our document supply service.