Given the highly flexible way in which many people have been working for the past 12 months, employers are very likely to face a marked increase in flexible working requests as we transition back to some level of office-based working.

The right to flexible working is one that has already evolved over time. Enshrined in the Employment Rights Act 1996, eligible employees can currently make a written request specifying the change or changes that they are seeking to their current working arrangements. Employers then have three months to notify the employee of their decision, and must deal with any such request in a reasonable manner. Requests can only be refused on the basis of one of the eight statutory grounds, which include for example detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand, detrimental impact on performance or planned structural changes.

These requests should be dealt with thoughtfully and carefully, both in order to ensure that staff requests are appropriately understood and considered, but also to avoid the risk of future claims.

During this webinar we:

  • Look at the statutory framework that employees must follow when making flexible working requests, and that employers must abide by when responding.
  • Consider where the statutory right began, how it has developed over time and what the future direction of travel may be, particularly in post-Covid context.
  • Address the potential risks associated with flexible working requests and highlight what claims employees may bring if they aren’t happy with the process followed or the decision made. 
  • Identify high-risk situations and in particular cases which involve potential indirect discrimination.
  • Cover the information and knowhow you need to carefully navigate these types of requests.