Employment Law experts
13th October 2016

Research by the charity Working Families has found that parents who earn more money are more likely to work flexibly than those on lower salaries.

The charity’s poll showed that 67% of parents who earned more than £70,000 worked flexible compared to only 47% of those earning between £10-40,000. The results were shared as part of National Work Life Balance Week, which runs from Oct 3-7.

One of our resident employment law specialists says he doesn’t know why there would be such a disparity: “I can only guess that the reason for the difference would have something to do with seniority rather than wages. People who earn higher wages are typically managers and, therefore, it would be easier for them to work flexibly. Businesses can sometimes do without a manager during parts of the day when things are operating well but fewer operatives would reduce production. If a manager were to leave at 3pm instead of 5pm, they could set clear tasks to be done before the end of the day and follow up the following morning if they were not done.”

Nearly two thirds of employees have experienced a negative effect on their personal life, including lack of personal development, physical and mental health problem, poor relationships and poor home life, thanks to their demands at work. Flexible working can be a good tool to help employees maintain a good work/life balance.

When it comes to flexible working requests, employers are required to fairly consider all requests using a proper procedure and only deny a request for valid business reasons. Our consultant says: “The reason behind an employee’s request for flexible working does not matter, the only qualifying criteria is that they have at least 26 weeks service and have not made a request in the last year. Typically a flexible working request would be a formal request to permanently change working hours, any trial period should be no longer than about 4 weeks.”

He continues: “When an employer receives a request for flexible working they should invite the employee to a formal hearing, giving them a minimum of 48 hours notice and the right to be accompanied. This meeting is an opportunity to go through the application and get all the information required to fully consider the application, taking into account things like checking appointment books for busy periods and looking at staff rotas for cover options.

“It is important that employers do not ignore flexible working requests. Doing so could prove costly, resulting in the employee receiving up to 8 weeks pay in compensation and a possible discrimination claim against the company, the compensation for which is unlimited.”

How would you handle a flexible working request? Call us today on 0161 785 2000


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