Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit and businesses were forced to adopt full-time working from home policies, more and more employers are embedding “flexible working” into their workplace cultures.
However, there are instances where a flexible working request may be ignored, or rejected by your employer. If you’ve made a reasonable request and are finding yourself up against rejection for no good reason, you may be able to make a flexible working tribunal claim.
If you want to take action against your employer following an unsuccessful flexible working request, we can help. Call us free on 0808 164 0808 or request a call back, and we will call you.
Flexible working day one right
Currently, you have the right to request flexible working after completing 26 weeks’ service with your employer. However, the Government has announced plans to make the right to request flexible working a day one right, whereby you can make requests on your first day if you wish to.
ACAS Flexible Working Policy
Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, employees are entitled to make requests for flexible working to their employer. Requests must:
- Be submitted in writing;
- Include the date, details of the flexible working and when you wish for it to happen;
- Explain how this change in working would impact you as an employee;
- Include a brief statement of the request being statutory.
According to the ACAS Flexible Working Code of Practice, employers must consider all requests and “arrange to talk with the employee as soon as possible after receiving their written request.”
Your employer is only required to hold a proper meeting with you if they intend on rejecting the request. As an employee you are allowed to bring a colleague with you to this meeting.
Find out more about the ACAS Flexible Working Policy >>
Taking action against your employer with a flexible working claim
You may be able to take legal action against your employer in the following scenarios:
- You have submitted a reasonable flexible working request and they have rejected it with no reason;
- You have followed the statutory procedure for flexible working and your employer has refused to acknowledge this, or follow statutory procedure themselves.
There may be cause for a flexible working discrimination claim, depending on the actions of your employer following your request.
Flexible working discrimination claims
If you were to make a flexible working discrimination claim, there are a number of points to consider:
- Although you are currently limited to making statutory flexible working requests after 26 weeks’ service (until the day one rule is implemented), you can make these requests on day one of your employment under equality law;
- Under current Flexible Working Regulations, you are only permitted to make one flexible working request per year;
- If you make a flexible working request due to childcare or disability needs, this might be protected by equality law.
If you want to find out more about discrimination claims and how we could help you, see our employment discrimination page >>
ACAS Arbitration Scheme
You may decide to try and settle your flexible working dispute with your employer by way of conciliation. If conciliation doesn’t work, you could then try the ACAS Arbitration Scheme.
Failure to handle a statutory flexible working requests in a reasonable manner can be the subject of a tribunal claim under s.80H of the Employment Rights Act 1996. You can pursue your claim at the Employment Tribunal if:
- You can prove that your statutory request was not given reasonable consideration;
- The statutory request procedure was mishandled and your legal rights were infringed;
- You were the subject of discrimination;
- Your employer dismissed you for making a flexible working request.
Arbitration is free, voluntary and legally binding.
Bringing a flexible working claim
If you are facing rejections and refusals of acknowledgement by your employer for a flexible working request, feel free to contact our employment solicitors today.
You can call us free on 0808 164 0808 or request a call back, and we will call you.
DISCLAIMER: In general you have three months less one day from the request rejection to take action, meaning you should act fast.
We recommend you speak to one of our lawyers in the first instance. As part of the process, you’ll need to get in touch with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), who will aim to achieve early conciliation with your employer. However, our lawyers can assist in this process where appropriate and we have formally been instructed.
Please be aware that the ACAS process can take up to around six weeks to complete, which will be taken from the three months you have to begin with. It’s important to act quickly in order to bring a tribunal claim. If the conciliation procedure is unsuccessful, we may be able to support you with the tribunal. If you feel you have a potential employment claim please act quickly and contact us today.