A study from GQR for the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has shown that many employees are struggling to access the flexible working that they are said to require. Over half surveyed were not offered flexible hours and one in three said that their requests were turned down.
This poll was commissioned ahead of a new campaign, Flex for All, which is petitioning for a change in the law for flexible working to be open to all workers from day one of engagement and to ensure that all job adverts include details of the flexible working offered by employers on that basis. The survey particularly noted that flexible working requests for those in manual roles, such as cleaning and manufacturing, were most likely to be rejected.
The Current Situation
Currently, employees with at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment can make a request for flexible working. Any request must be dealt with in a reasonable manner and the employer must notify the outcome to the employee within a three-month decision period. The employer can only refuse a request for one (or more) of the eight reasons set out in the legislation, such as impact on customer service or inability to reorganise work amongst other employees.
If the employer fails to deal with an application in a reasonable manner, fails to notify the employee of the decision within the decision period, fails to rely on one of the statutory grounds when refusing the application or bases its decision on incorrect facts, then an employee can make a complaint to an employment tribunal.
The TUC are seeking for employers to publish, and to be held to account over, their flexible working practices.
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