Q1. Do all employees qualify from the arrangements?
No, you must have at least 26 weeks of continuous service with the employer and you can only make one request in any 12 month period.
Q2. What are the family circumstances which are taken into account?
None - all employees are entitled to apply for flexible working.
Q3. What are the relevant options?
There are a few basic possibilities.
These are: to change the number of hours worked per week or the times you start and finish your working day or perhaps, less likely for teachers, work from home. You could also request to job-share or to take phased retirement.
Q4. How do I go about requesting flexible working?
First of all check you qualify by reviewing your answer to Question 1.
You must make a written application. It is likely your employer will have a form to complete and it is helpful if you can offer a solution to how your change in contract could work for both your own and the school's benefit.
Q5. Will this change affect my terms and conditions?
Yes, this would be a material and permanent contractual change.
You must check what arrangements your employer will agree to put in place to allow your return to "normal" working should you wish to at some future date. The employer is under no obligation to agree this.
Q6. So, that outlines what I need to do. What about the employer?
The simple case first.: the employer might agree to your request.
Q7. What happens if the employer does not immediately agree to the request?
Then a meeting should be held to discuss the request. The employer needs to state the reasons for refusal and tell you that you have the right of appeal. The ACAS Code of Practice on the Employer's responsibilities is a good guide - http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/f/e/Code-of-Practice-on-handling-in-a-reasonable-manner-requests-to-work-flexibly.pdf Your employer needs to let you know within 3 months.
Q8. How do I appeal?
Employees no longer have the legal right to appeal but your employer may still have an appeals procedure. If you wish to appeal you must state your grounds including anything that you think was not taken into consideration adequately. Please seek advice from the Association on any appeal.
Q9. What about employer's reasons for refusal?
This legislation applies to all workers so the reasons can be quite varied.
Employers can reject an application for any of the following reasons:
- extra costs that will damage the business
- the work can’t be reorganised among other staff
- people can’t be recruited to do the work
- flexible working will affect quality and performance
- the business won’t be able to meet customer demand
- there’s a lack of work to do during the proposed working times
- the business is planning changes to the workforce