Is Your HR Software Ready For Flexible Working Legislation?
It was announced this week that all employees now have the legal right to request flexible working providing they have at least 26 weeks of service. Previously this option was only open to parents of children under the age of 16. The new legislation means employees can ask you to change their working patterns or location regardless of the reason.
Requests may include:
- The ability to work from home
- Flexible working hours
- A reduction of hours
- Compressed hours (full time hours over fewer days)
An employer now has a legal duty to consider any of the flexible requests, a full list of which can be found here. If a request is turned down there has to be a legitimate business reason such as the request may be too costly to implement or have a negative impact on customer service for example.
The legislation states that requests must be handled in a “reasonable manner” which includes:
- Properly assessing the advantages and disadvantages of the application
- Holding a meeting to discuss the request with the employee
- Considering if some flexibility can be offered as a compromise if the request cannot be approved in full
- Providing a clear written statement of your decision
- Offering an appeal process
ACAS have published several helpful guides covering the new legislation and how the application and assessment process should work. You can find them here.
Where does HR technology come in?
Once you have familiarised yourself with the legislation and created a policy you need to consider how requests will be handled. It’s important that each step of the process is properly documented and follows an agreed procedure. Technology can help support you through the procedure and provide an important audit trail.
Selima’s HR software allows you to manage the flexible working request process including logging the request, recording details of meetings and generating the relevant letters.
The comments page on an employee’s HR record can be used to record details of the request, the assessment and what has been agreed with the employee. The Meetings page allows you to store a full record of the employee meeting which includes being able to upload minutes, etc.
Selima HR features a letter template builder which enables you to create a response letter for each stage in the procedure. This will help ensure the process and correspondence is standardised across the business. Once the letter is generated the system can email the letter as a PDF to the employee or it can be printed out.
Employees have the right to appeal a declined request for flexible working. The appeal process and meetings can be recorded in exactly the same way as the original request and stored in HR.