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Flexible Working in the UK

Since the right to flexible working was extended in 2014 the benefits of flexible working have become more widely recognised. Any eligible employee can now make a request for any reason. 

Flexible Working HoursBusinesses have bought into flexible working because it can boost productivity and help establish and retain a happy and diverse workforce.

Flexible working can take many forms such as job sharing, shift work, flexitime, part-time working and working from home. But these are not the only ways workers in the UK can enjoy flexible working because it’s continuing to evolve.

How Flexible Working in the UK is Changing

A digital agency from the North East has introduced flexible working and unlimited holidays in order to boost productivity. The eCommerce agency, called Visualsoft, won an Employee Choice Award last year after positive feedback from their workers.

Bristol-based community interest company Coexist has introduced a ‘period policy’ which allows their mainly female workforce to work flexibly around their monthly cycle. They are not the first employer to take female workers’ periods into consideration. In 2007, Nike introduced menstrual leave for their workers all over the world.

If you are on a zero-hours contract, however, you do not have the right to request flexible working. In order to qualify you must have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks and you must be an employee. Be aware that your employer can turn down your request for flexible working if there is a legitimate business reason and you cannot make more than one request in any 12-month period.

The best thing to do is to ensure you clearly explain your reasons for requesting flexible working and address any objections your employer might have to flexible working in your initial request.

For parents who have to work and manage childcare, flexible working can be highly valuable. Especially being able to work from home when it is not possible to arrange child care and adapting working hours to suit the pick-up and drop-off times for school, nursery or childcare.

Other useful workplace tools to assist parents and mothers and fathers-to-be include SPLIT days, KIT days and Shared Parental Leave. For more information, read our top tips for going back to work after maternity leave.

Sadly, employees are sometimes mistreated because they work flexible hours and occasionally employers refuse flexible working requests without a justified reason. Flexible working can be legally complex, so if you have any issues surrounding a flexible working agreement you should speak with an employment solicitor.

Call Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online and we’ll call you back at a time that suits you.

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