On 30 June 2014, new laws came into force which extend the
right to request flexible working to any employee with more than 26 weeks’
Under the new laws, employees with the requisite service can
make one flexible working request each year for whatever reason they like.
Employers then have three months from receipt of the request in which to
consider it. The eight business reasons for which an employer may reject the
request remain unchanged.
Whereas previously, employers only had to deal with requests
from those employees who were parents or carers of adults, they could now be
faced with requests from employees who want to spend more time in the garden,
coach their son’s football team or write a novel perhaps.
Many commentators have focused on the numerous challenges
that this new legislation will present for employers such as the prospect of
dealing with competing requests and the discrimination issues that this could
give rise to.
However, when considering such requests, employers should be
aware that research indicates that there are many positive business benefits
associated with a more flexible workforce, such as:
Greater staff loyalty and improved retention
Higher levels of employee satisfaction resulting
in more positive client feedback;
Reduced stress and therefore fewer days lost to
Higher levels of productivity; and
Substantial cost savings through reduced office
It is hoped that employers will embrace the opportunities
that this new legislation provides rather than simply viewing it as an