Would you notice if a sprawling new bunker appeared on one of your fairways? Or how about a new water hazard surrounding one of your three pars?
Well each and every year new employment legislation can do the equivalent to your employee relations and unless you are prepared these changes will catch you unawares with little chance of a mulligan.
The big change this year will be flexible working.
When this was introduced, it was the right of parents of children up to age 5 (or disabled children up to 18) to request (not have) flexible working. This was then increased to parents of all children up to age 18. And then to carers of any age group.
This year, the right to request flexible working will be extended to ALL employees with 26 weeks’ service. Before you panic just because they have the right to request flexible working it doesn’t mean you have to agree to it!
This is a change which was supposed to come into effect from April 2014, but somewhat strangely ACAS had not got the guidance finished on it in time, so the introduction of this new right has been delayed.
The key changes are that
– All staff have the right to request (not have) flexible working
– There is no longer a formal process that has to be followed.
Now I am not in favour of an absence of process. Why? Because in my (long, cynical) advisory capacity to employers, I have found that if there is not a process, then they are amazingly creative at doing almost the exact opposite of good practice. And then get upset when, having rejected a request, the employee is annoyed with them. What did they expect?
You can of course refuse a request on business grounds. Those grounds are:
Our recommendation is that you use the framework of the flexible working approval process in future, amending the timelines to suit. There may be more explicit guidance from ACAS on this (eventually) but in the meantime let’s not reinvent the wheel!