Flexible Working Request Procedure
1. Request and Approval Process
a) The employee should complete the Application Form and send it to their line manager.
b) The manager should immediately confirm receipt using lower part of Application Form
c) The manager should arrange a meeting with the employee within 28 days of receiving the request. It is advised that the meeting is confirmed in writing.
d) Within 14 days of the meeting, the manager should inform the employee of their decision using the Acceptance/Rejection Form.
e) If the employee wishes to appeal against the decision, they should do so within 14 days, by completing Appeal Form and sending it to the next level of management.
f) The next level of management and the employee should meet within 14 days of the appeal being received.
g) The next level of management should inform the employee of their decision within 14 days using the Appeal Form.
2. Additional Information
2.1 Scope and legal background
The flexible Working regulations are intended to help employee balance their work and caring responsibilities. The Regulations give employees the right to request a flexible working arrangement and place a duty on employers to consider requests seriously. A request can only be refused if there is a recognised business ground.
The Regulations set a minimum standard procedure and timescales for requesting and considering flexible working as set out above. Forms are included with this procedure that help to ensure both employees and managers comply with the requirements of the Regulations.
2.2 Who can request flexible working?
This procedure is open to all Leicester City Council employees who meet the following criteria:
a) Right to Request Flexible Working - Children
(i) have at least 6 months’ service with the Council;
(ii) are responsible for the upbringing of a child who is aged 16 or under, or 18 or under if the child is disabled (under the Regulations a disabled child is a child who is entitled to a disability living allowance);
(iii) are the biological parent, guardian, adopter, foster carer of the child;
(iv) married to or the partner or civil partner of the above and living with the child;
(v) are requesting the flexibility in order to care for the child;
(vi) have not made a request for flexible working within the last 12 months.
b) Right to Request Flexible Working – Adults
(i) have at least 6 months’ service with the Council;
(ii) who is or expects to be caring for an adult who is aged 18, or over and is in need of care;
(iii) are married to, or the partner or civil partner of the adult being cared for;
(iv) is a near relative – see definition;
(v) falls into neither category but lives at the same address;
(vii) have not made a request for flexible working within the last 12 months.
A ‘relative’ is defined as:
birth parent, adoptive parent, guardian, special guardian, parent-in-law,
son, son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law,
brother, brother-in-law, sister, sister-in-law,
uncle, aunt, grandparent.
These relationships include step, half blood, adoptive relatives and adopted employees’ birth relatives.
2.3 What can be requested?
Employees may request a change to:
a) the hours they are required to work;
b) the times they are required to work;
c) where they are required work.
If a request for flexible working is agreed, then the change in the hours, times or location will be permanent.
The timescales within the procedure are statutory. However, an extension to a time limit is possible if agreed by the manager and employee. An Extension of Time Limit form is available recording this agreement.
If the manager is absent, on annual leave or sick leave when the request is received, an automatic extension applies. This means that the 28-day time limit within which the manager must hold the meeting starts on the day that the manager returns to work, or 28 days after the application is made – whichever is the sooner.
2.5 Considering a request
Managers should try to take a positive approach and consider carefully and seriously whether the desired working pattern can be accommodated within the needs of the service. Where relevant this may include asking other employees if they wish to cover any extra hours that may become available.
A request for flexible working may only be refused on one or more of the following grounds:
the burden of additional costs
a detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
an inability to re-organise work amongst existing employees
an inability to recruit additional staff
a detrimental impact on quality
a detrimental impact on performance
insufficiency of work during the periods an employee proposes to work
planned structural or organisational changes
2.6 Meeting to discuss the request
A meeting between the employee and manager is a statutory requirement of the process, as is the right to be accompanied to the meeting by a work colleague or trade union representative.
The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the desired work arrangements in depth and consider how it might be accommodated. Both parties should be prepared to be flexible. Alternative working arrangements should be explored if the arrangement originally proposed cannot be accommodated.
If an employee fails to attend the meeting they should contact the manager as soon as possible to explain the reason for their non-attendance and to allow the manager to re-arrange the meeting at the next mutually convenient time. If an employee fails to attend a meeting on more than one occasion without providing a reasonable explanation, the Council will consider the application withdrawn.
2.7 Trial Periods
If a manager is uncertain about the impact the request will have on the service, a temporary ‘trial period’ of up to 14 days may be arranged. This timescale can be extended using the process detailed in Section 2.4.
A work colleague or trade union representative may accompany the employee. If an employee fails to attend a meeting on more than one occasion without providing a reasonable explanation, the Council will consider the appeal withdrawn.
The appeal decision is final and forms the end of the internal procedure.
2.9 Withdrawing requests
Employees can withdraw their request at any time, using the Notice of Withdrawal Form.
In addition to failure to attend meeting, requests are also considered withdrawn if an employee unreasonably refuses to provide the manager or appeal manager with information required to consider the request.
2.10 Other Forms of Flexible Working
In addition to the provisions of this procedure, Leicester City Council also operates other policies to help employees achieve work-life balance, which include:
Last updated: 22 December 2009 PAWS/SY
Updated 6 April 2009
Updated 4 February 2009
Updated 24 October 2008
(First Published 23 March 2004)
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