How flexible does an employer need to be for a flexible working request?

Napthens - March 7th 2017

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How flexible does an employment need to be for a flexible working request? 

“With a flexible working request I would remind employers to remember the magic eights.  The eight reasons as to when an employer may have the opportunity to turn down a flexible working request.

The first example I would draw your attention to is additional costs that may burden the company.  A primary example on that occasion is a small company who in the event a flexible working request is made may cause them to have additional impact on the payroll system, additional financial burdens in relation to the salary and therefore there may be scope on those occasions to determine whether or not a flexible working request would be feasible.

Secondly is in relation to any potential planned restructures in relation to the business.  Now this can be where the company is looking to reduce itself in size and adjust certain roles.  As a result they may want to have a conversation with the employees to suggest that they either put off the flexible working request until after that structure has taken place or in the alternative it may be the case that due to those restructured changes they aren’t able to accommodate that flexible working request any further and therefore it has been declined.

Thirdly and finally, it relates to the inability to recruit a particular type of staff.  For example in the transport industry you may have a variety of staff working late night shifts and it may be difficult to demonstrate that you could get somebody to fill that role i.e on a job share basis.  You could use statistical information to demonstrate as to why that wouldn’t be feasible and again there may be scope to decline that request.

In any event if there is any uncertainty regarding a flexible working request I would strongly recommend that you contact the Employment Team at Napthens and we would be more than happy to assist.”