Thank you. The right to make a flexible working request applies to any employee who has been employed by the employer for at least 26 weeks.
Examples of the changes that can be applied for in a flexible working request include:
· A change to working hours
· Change to working location
When a formal 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.