Flexible Working - What Does It Involve?
By Ian Rummels
Flexible working is a phrase that describes any working pattern adapted to suit an employee’s needs. Types of flexible working include and usually consist of a combination of:
• Working less than the normal working hours, for example by working fewer days per week
• Flexi-time: choosing when employees work (there's usually a core period during the day when employees are required to be at work)
• Annualised hours: employee hours are worked out over a year often with set shifts with employees arranging when to work the remaining hours
• Compressed hours: working agreed hours over fewer days
• Staggered hours: different starting, break and finishing times for...
...employees in the same workplace
• Job sharing: a job designed for one person being shared with someone else
Certain employees can request flexible work arrangements from their employer — the government has introduced a statutory right in order to encourage applications. Provided the worker is an employee (but not an agency worker or in the armed forces), and has worked for the company for 26 weeks continuously before applying, they have the statutory right to ask if they:
• have a child under six or a disabled child under 18
• are responsible for the child as a parent/guardian/special guardian/foster parent/private foster carer or as the holder of a residence order
• are the spouse, partner or civil partner of one of these and
• are applying to care for the child
• are a carer who cares, or expects to be caring, for a spouse, partner, civil partner or relative or who lives at the same address as the person being cared for
By law an employer must seriously consider any above applications made but doesn’t have to agree if there is a valid business reason not to. Employees have the right to ask for flexible working - not the right to have it.
Employers might want to consider offering this right to request felxible working to all employees.
Ian Rummels is Managing Director of employment consultancy PES.