If an employer acquiesces to an employee's request for flexibility in their working hours either by reduction or by change in start/finish times, are they setting a precedent or can they treat these requests on a case by case basis? We recently did this for an employee and it caused major discussion amongst other employees whose requests had been refused due to the inability of the Company to accommodate them, words like favouritism and preferential treatment were used. Is this something the Company should have a written procedure on? Also where the Company permits this flexibility should they stipulate a review period where they can decide to revert the working hours back to the contractual one?Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 1 November 2011
Firstly, I would advise implementing a written flexible working policy to set out a formal procedure to give effect to the statutory flexible working scheme and an informal procedure to cover those who either do not fit, or who do not wish to follow, the statutory scheme. Such a policy will also help manage employees’ expectations upon submitting a request and ensure consistency of approach to all requests received.
As long as you follow the correct procedures when considering requests and link any outcomes to business requirements, you should not fall foul of the flexible working regime.
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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015
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