If you’ve been in your job at the same employer for 26 weeks or more, then you’re entitled to request remote working under The Flexible Working Regulations 2014.
But there are some important things you should know before you make your request to work remotely.
Your employer has three months from receiving your request to respond. If it’s agreed that you can work remotely, then your employment contract should be changed to reflect the new working protocol.
You can only make one request in any 12-month period, so make sure you follow all the rules to the letter when stating your case.
Things to bear in mind include:
• Making your request in writing – ensuring the written request is dated and states explicitly that you are making a statutory request for flexible working
• Include details of what change to your working conditions you’re seeing and what date you’d like the change to take effect
• Why are you making the request? If it’s for a caring commitment then your employer needs to know as it would be unlawful to refuse your request.
• If you’ve put in a request for flexible working before, you should also include why and when this was made.
• Consider any reasons why working remotely may impact on the business. For instance, added pressure on your colleagues or not being present in the office to complete a particular duty or responsibility.
• You should also address how you intend to deal with any issues that may arise from the change, such as spending one day a week in the office to share customer-facing responsibilities.
• If you’re making a request under the Equality Act 2010, such as asking for a reasonable adjustment as a disabled employee, then you should make this clear in the request.
• Make a business case – it’s important to explain how working from home may benefit the business, as these may counteract possible reasons to refuse your request
A reasonable refusal
Although you have the right to request flexible working by law, your employer also has the right to refuse, although only if it’s reasonable to do so.
Legitimate refusal reasons can include:
• additional costs that may damage the business
• your missed work can’t be distributed among other staff
• the flexible terms you’re proposing will affect the quality of work and performance
• the business will no longer be able to meet the needs of customers
• there isn’t enough work to do during the new working times you’re proposing
• the business is planning reorganisation or workforce changes
• in the case of reduced hours or days, it’s not possible to recruit someone to do the work
Challenging a rejected request
If you feel your employer has refused your request for an illegitimate reason, then there are other recourse options you can consider.
Firstly, have an informal chat with your boss. It could be as simple as a misunderstanding and talking it over informally could iron out any issues.
If your boss isn’t willing to discuss the matter, of if you’re still not happy with the outcome of the chat, then you should look to use your employer’s internal grievance procedure. You can also seek advice from your trade union or union representative.
If all the above fails, then you can contact the Government’s Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) and seek to go through the its Flexible Working Arbitration Scheme.
According to Acas, the conciliation process aims to provide voluntary mediation service, that is quicker and more cost effective than taking the case to court.
If all else fails, then an employment tribunal is an option, but should always be the very last resort.
Posted by The Secret Businessman