In our research of over 5500 people over 50, one of the most important things you told us employers could do is provide flexible working arrangements. One of the silver linings of Covid19 has been the clear proof that flexible working is possible as is working from home.
There is a lot of free support and information available online to help you consider and decide on the best flexible working options. Rather than reinvent any wheels, we wanted to pull this all together helpfully in one place. Please note, this article has only been produced from the perspective of UK law.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF FLEXIBLE WORKING ARRANGEMENTS?
The government provide an overview of the most common forms of flexible working arrangements here: https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working/types-of-flexible-working
This resource lists the different types of flexible working and what this might mean you need to consider if you have children (don’t let the fact its on a site called 'investing in women' put you off – the advice is applicable to everyone)
What is flexible working, and how can it work for me? (investinginwomen.co.uk)
If you prefer a visual, here is an infographic from CIPD
YOUR RIGHT TO REQUEST
Firstly, you might need to check if you have the right to request flexible working. ACAS in an independent public body funded by the government to improve relationships between employers and employees. They provide a good overview here.
Assuming you are eligible, the basic steps to requesting flexible working are:
- You write to your employer.
- Your employer has 3 months to consider your request and make a decision (they can take longer with your agreement)
- If your employer agrees to the request, they must change the terms and conditions in your contract.
- If your employer disagrees, they must write to you giving the business reasons for the refusal.
You can only make one application for flexible working a year.
For more detail and to download a standard application form you can use to make a request you can look at the UK Government website here
If you'd rather write a letter, you can access a template here
Sometimes it's useful to talk through your options - or perhaps you have a specific issue you want to discuss. In the UK, there is a charity called Working families is a charity and they provide a free consultation service and helpline to people who have families or are carers and want some advice/guidance around flexible working requests. Their helpline is open 11.00 a.m - 2.00 p.m Monday to Fridays - check their website for the number. They also have a free video of 2.5 mins on you tube
YOUR RIGHT TO APPEAL
Remember: the right to flexible working, does not mean the right to access it. Your employer does NOT have to agree to your flexible working request, but they do have to consider it fairly and if they find it is not possible they do need to provide you with a business reason for this decision. We find this overview on the ACAS really helpful in providing you with a number of reasons considered to be 'business related' and what your options are around appealing.
ARE YOU AN EMPLOYER?
Fortunately, there are a number of really great and free resources for employers.
The CIPD is the professional body for HR professionals in the UK and they provide guidance and factsheets and toolkits for employers here
Likewise, ACAS also provide a helpful overview of how to consider an employees flexible working request if you have received one. Here is a link
LET US KNOW
If you are a provider of a service in terms of helping employees or employers facilitate and access flexible working requests, let us know. You can email the author firstname.lastname@example.org and we will keep this article updated.