Flexible Working Hours

As from today (30th June 2014) every employee has the right to ask their employer for flexible working hours. This is an extension of existing rights that were in place for those looking after children and caring for the elderly or others needing help.

This does not mean that flexible hours are a right, just that employees can ask for them and employers must consider them in a reasonable way. If they are unable to grant them, then there should be reasonable grounds for the refusal. This will effect a lot of people as up to 20 million workers are now covered by the new rules and everyone from the unions to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills is welcoming the measures.

The only stipulation for employees is that they must have been in their job for at least 6 months. The government website has an excellent overview of these new regulations and the various stages of the process.

Keeping staff happy and motivated is perhaps the main reason to agree to flexible working and for many businesses and the modern technologies now available it is a practical solution and could even bring some cost savings. If you have a flexible work pattern, you may need less office space for example, as staff will not need to all attend the office at the same time. Hot desking and other flexible practices may be suitable for your business reducing your fixed costs.

However you do need to consider the matter carefully and reasons that are deemed acceptable for saying no include:

  • extra costs which will damage your business
  • work that can’t be reorganised among other staff
  • people can’t be recruited to do the work that needs to be done
  • flexible working will affect the quality of what you offer
  • 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 so needs to consider this as well

The key thing is to be realistic and fair both to the business and the employees.

We assist businesses with payroll and other staff related administrative activities, so if you have any questions about how to handle these tasks for your organisation we would be happy to help. Simply complete the  contact form on this page and one of our team will be in touch.

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