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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12310
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have submitted a flexible working request due to needing

Customer Question

I have submitted a flexible working request due to needing to care for my Autistic child between the hours of 5.30am and 8am before school, this equates to an average of 4 hours per week of my contract. I have requested that I reduce these hours in order for me to care for my child, it would be easy to replace me for the tasks carried out during those 4 hours but this has been declined. Do I have any rights as a carer of my disabled child?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Why has the applicaiton been declined?

JACUSTOMER-34zhzb1b- :

I am still waiting for the official letter as I have only been informed verbally so I am not sure as the reason for the decline on the reduction in hours- I am guessing that they will say it is a detriment to service (Leisure Centre) but the tasks carried out during that period can easily be picked up by somebody else taking the 4 hours on.

JACUSTOMER-34zhzb1b- :

I did ask to work the hours elsewhere as well but this was declined due to the extra cost to the business which I understand is difficult for me to argue against.

Ben Jones :

When a formal flexible working request is made, an employer can only reject it on a limited number of grounds. These are:

  • Planned structural changes

  • The burden of additional costs

  • A detrimental impact on quality

  • The inability to recruit additional staff

  • A detrimental impact on performance

  • The inability to reorganise work among existing staff

  • A detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand

  • Lack of work during the periods the employee proposes to work

In addition, the employer has a duty to explain their rejection in writing. They must state why the specific business ground applies in the circumstances and include the key facts about their decision. These should be accurate and relevant to the reason used.

However, when selecting the ground for refusal the test is a subjective one on the part of the employer. If the employer considers that one of the grounds applies, then the test is satisfied. The test does not create any requirement of reasonableness into the employer's judgment. It would appear that only if the employer's view is based on incorrect facts, could the decision actually be challenged.

Therefore, if the employer has not relied on one of the set grounds to justify their refusal, or the facts they have used are incorrect or unreasonable, the decision can be appealed first before a formal grievance is raised. If that does not help, a claim can be made to an employment tribunal. The available grounds to challenge their decision are:

  • The employer failed to hold a meeting, notify their decision or offer a right of appeal

  • The reason for refusal was not for one of the allowed reasons

  • The rejection was based on incorrect facts

The claim should be presented to the tribunal within 3 months of either the procedural breach or of the date on which the employee is notified of the appeal decision.

It follows that such decisions are not easy to challenge and it can only happen if the above factors are satisfied. You are nevertheless able to raise a formal grievance with the employer to pursue this internally and you can also appeal the decision if you remain dissatisfied with the outcome.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you. I would also be happy to answer any follow up questions you may have but as I am just about to leave the office I may not be able to reply until I get home in an hour or so, thanks

JACUSTOMER-34zhzb1b- :

Thanks, ***** ***** the reason is that they feel it would be a detriment to service, would I have good reason to appeal? based on the fact that the hours that I have vacated can easily be recruited to with a trained individual who would be competent in carrying out the morning checks after opening the building- as this is pretty much all that is carried out during that period.

Ben Jones :

Thanks for your patience. The issue is that as long as they have taken into consideration the correct facts about your position and what is available, if they believe that the outcome is not possible then they would be able to refuse it - remember that as long as the employer believes the reason they have relied on applies, then they have satisfied the test. You would only be able to appeal if once you have received their decision you see that they have relied on the wrong facts to come to their conclusion.

Ben Jones :

Hope this clarifies things for you a bit more?

Ben Jones :

Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? I just need to know whether to close the question or not? Thanks