Be ready for rush of flexible working requests, businesses told

A quarter of employees surveyed by YouGov have said they were likely to request flexible working when new legislation comes into force on 30 June 2014, in findings that may come as a shock to employers.

The YouGov survey of 2,328 Britons also found that 18-24 year-olds were the age group keenest to ask for flexible working and that women were more likely to make a request than men.

Almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents believed that flexible working created a better work life balance and 42% said it created higher staff morale. Where respondents were employed by businesses already offering flexible working, 27% thought it helped to increase productivity and 28% indicated that it reduced sickness and absence.

At present, employers are legally required to “consider seriously” requests to work flexibly only from employees with a child aged 16 or under, a child with disabilities aged under 18 and employees looking after an adult dependant, such as an elderly parent.

The new measure will extend the right to request flexible working to all employees with 26 weeks’ service. The rules will not give employees the right to work flexibly but employers will be required to deal with requests in a “reasonable” manner.

The Palmers employment law team can provide expert guidance on how the changes to the right to request flexible working could affect your business, including advising you how to properly consider requests and document the procedure. Our HR package also offers regularly updated sample policies for matters such as flexible working.

For more information about our employment law services or our HR package, please visit our website or contact Lara Murray.