Flexible working hours are available from your employer if you are a working parent with a child who is under 6 years old (or if your child is disabled then under 18 years). You then qualify for the right to ask your employer for flexible working hours. You as Parents have the right to ask for flexible working Hours!
This working right came into force on 6th April 2003 and states that:-
- You must be an employee
- You must have a child under 6 years (or a child under 18 years if disabled)
- You must be the childs legal guardian *
- You must put in the request no later than 2 weeks before the childs 6th birthday
- You must not be an agency worker
- You must not be a member of the armed forces
- You have to have worked for the current employer for at least 26 weeks
- You must have or expect to have day to day responsibility for your child
- You may only make one request each year for flexible working hours
* Legal guardians are either
- The childs Mother or father
- The childs Adopter
- The childs Guardian
- The childs Foster Parent
You are married to the childs mother, father, adopter guardian or foster parent.
You are Partner of the childs mother, father, adopter, guardian or foster parent
Flexible Working Hours generally include
- Working Flexitime.
- Working a Job Share.
- Working School Hours.
- Working Part Time Hours.
- Working From Home.
- Working Shifts.
- Working Staggered Hours.
- Working Compressed Hours.**
** This is where You can work the number of contracted hours, but work them over a shorter time period.
The procedure for Flexible Working Hours
The employee must first make an application for flexible working hours to the employer in writing, but remember only one application per year is allowed.
Any accepted applications will implement a permanent change to the terms and conditions of the employee only.
The employer then has a duty to consider the application from the employee carefully taking time to contemplate what is in the best interests for the employees and their children, what financial risks there may be in relation to salary decrease and also what effect may this have on the business of the employer.
Within a 28 day period of receiving the request the employer must arrange a meeting with the employee to enable them both with the opportunity to discuss the proposal and find a way of making it work for both parties.
The employee may take with them to this meeting another employee of the same company for support. Also, should there be any problems with the application then the matter is dealt with at this time.
Within a 14 day period of the meeting the employer will inform the employee in writing as to whether they agree or not with the raised application for flexible working hours.
If the employer agrees then they must include in the letter a new working schedule with amended hours and of course a start date.
If the employer disagrees then they must provide a clear and valid reason why this application was refused based on business grounds.
Please note that the periods of time may be extended as long as both the employer and employee have agreed this and both have this agreement in writing.
Right of Appeal
This procedure also gives the right of an appeal against the employers decision in favour of the employee for flexible working hours, providing that they make this appeal within 14 days. The process of the appeal is intended to remain amicable and aims to allow both the employer and employee to reach a satisfactory outcome in the workplace.
Some employees may have third party involvement to pursue their request, but this is a very small minority. This is if their request is in the form of a dispute tribunal, in this case they may refer their request to Acas. However an employee may only take their claim to an employment tribunal in very specific circumstances.
If this is the case then the employer must be able to show the tribunal that they have followed the procedure exactly. This new law is to provide parents of young or disabled children with the right to request a flexible working hours will be in addition to, and will apply separately from, any other such legislations as sex, disability, or race legislation.