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Flexible Working

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 22 Jun 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Flexible Working Patterns Law On

Flexible working has become more popular over recent years due to the changing needs of customers and employees. Many employers think that it's a sensible move and brings numerous improvements.

Advantages for Employers

Flexible working creates greater cost-effectiveness and efficiency, such as saving on overheads when employees Work From Home or less downtime for machinery when 24 hour shifts are worked. It also attracts an increased skills base to the workforce as the business is able to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce. There is more job satisfaction and better Staff Morale.

It can also promote a greater continuity of staff who might otherwise have left due to other personal commitments and who can be offered suitable flexible hours which suit their needs. Many employers find that a better Work/ Life Balance has a positive impact on staff retention, employee relations, motivation and commitment. A by product of all this is that customers reap the benefits too and show a higher degree of satisfaction and loyalty as a result. A company can also remain more competitive if they adopt flexible working practices as they can react to sudden changes in market conditions more rapidly.

Advantages for Employees

Flexible working practices offer increased opportunities for employees to fit in Family Commitments and activities around their hours of work and make better use of their free time. This is useful for those who have children or who may have to care for other dependants but others may find flexible working helpful too. It might help people manage their workloads more effectively, lessen the stress of commuting at peak times and many employers find that sickness and absence levels fall as a result.

Advantages for Customers

Customers benefit as a result of a more motivated workforce who are more likely to provide them with excellent customer service. In addition, more flexibility often means longer opening times, more experienced staff and a better overall service.

Different Types of Flexible Arrangements

Flexible work patterns can be established in a variety of ways. They can include the following but there are numerous alternative flexible arrangements in addition:

  • Part-time working - workers are contracted to work less than the basic full-time hours
  • Flexi-time - workers have the freedom to work in any way they choose outside a set of core hours established by their employer
  • Job sharing - one full-time job is split between 2 workers who work out their shifts between themselves
  • Shift swapping - workers work out shifts amongst themselves but still ensure that all shifts are covered
  • Time off in lieu - workers take time off to suit to compensate for extra hours worked
  • Teleworking/home working - workers spend all or part of their week working from home or somewhere else away from their employer's premises

The Law on Flexible Working

From 30 June 2014 every employee has the statutory right to request flexible working after 26 weeks employment service.

Although an employer may not accept the requests in these cases, a strict procedure must be followed and only a small number of justifiable grounds would be acceptable in an employer's decision to refuse the request. If an employer cannot suitably justify why they will not permit flexible working, the employee can take their case to an Employment Tribunal. More details about this can be found on the ACAS website.

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[Add a Comment]
lizzy - Your Question:
Hi I broke my neck and Fractured my back 8 weeks ago and am due back to work at the end of June. I want to reduce my permanent work hours from 5 days to 4 days, can I request this?

Our Response:
Yes anyone can request flexible working hours but an employer can refuse if there are good business reasons for doing so.
SafeWorkers - 23-Jun-16 @ 2:16 PM
Hi I broke my neck and Fractured my back 8 weeks ago and am due back to work at the end of June. I want to reduce my permanent work hours from 5 days to 4 days, can i request this?
lizzy - 22-Jun-16 @ 11:26 AM
Bob- Your Question:
I have been working for nearly two years on nightshift. A new manager has came in and is trying to force me to do shift patterns. I chose to work permanent nights due to family commitments. What are my rights and how do I put my case forward? Another employee works permanent days and he cannot do nights due to the same reason can we combine forces and try to get this over turned

Our Response:
You could try consulting with your employer if you two of you are able to do the shifts between you as you are at present. Check your contract, was it amended to state night shifts only, when you chose to do permanent nights? If so, your employer will need to gain your consent before changing your hours/shifts.
SafeWorkers - 11-May-16 @ 2:45 PM
I have been working for nearly two years on nightshift. A new manager has came in and is trying to force me to do shift patterns. I chose to work permanent nights due to family commitments. What are my rights and how do I put my case forward? Another employee works permanent days and he cannot do nights due to the same reason can we combine forces and try to get this over turned
Bob - 9-May-16 @ 11:36 AM
I was recently fired when I requested to work a new shift manager stated we had in a meeting.She said the shift is only available is she has over 12 events on any given day, so she couldn't honor my request.So I told her I was available to be a breaker twice a wk.She said she couldn't honor that, when there's a breaker needed every single day & we're scheduled as a breaker at least once or twice a month, without requesting.The company's always been very flexible with our shift request until this new manager came in.Took her over a wk. to get back to me after I left numerous msgs. for her to call me back with my schedule since my availability changed.She said she was going to have to let me go,(fired), however would rehire me if I became available again for former shifts. I'm devastated.I loved my job , coworkers & hundreds of customers that I got to know over the years I was there.Can't see myself ever walking back in to the workplace again.The embarrassment & the way she let me go is very hurtful.Haven't heard back from unemployment to see if I qualify. 50/50 chance.Does anyone know if I was rightfully let go?
cya - 12-Nov-15 @ 8:47 PM
@jacko. What does your contract say? Are specfic shifts mentioned? If so and your employer has breached your contract follow the steps in this article. If no specific shifts are mentioned there is nothing to prevent your employer from changing them, as long as the hours are not increased or reduced. You do have the right to request flexible work, your employer does not have to grant it.but must give you reasons for not doing so. They may consider that 11 to 3 is flexible enough to allow for any child care responsibilities as well. Your options are: (1) try to renegotiate with your employer (2) ask to work a longer day (8am to 3pm?) to cover both shifts (and increase your wages) or (3) to look for another job that gives you more hours.
SafeWorkers - 5-Feb-15 @ 1:03 PM
In september i lose my carers allowance as i earn a little over the threshold due to not needing child care anymore, at present i work 8am-12pm so therefore can get an afternoon job, My employers have come in today and change my shift patten 11-3pm so i cant now look for an afternoon job, my husband works shifts, and we have a child with Autism, Iv asked my employer to keep me on the mornings as il be out of pocket by £268 month, and they've said no?, help me!, x
jacko - 2-Feb-15 @ 12:58 PM
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