Responding to Flexible Working Requests
Responding to a Flexible Working Request - Staines
Our Staines Employment Law Solicitors were recently contacted for help in responding to a flexible working request.
Our client is a small employer in Staines, with ten employees. One employee has been on maternity leave and is due to return. She has sent a letter asking to vary her hours so that she can work part-time on her return.
The request raises two issues. Firstly the employee’s rights on returning from maternity leave and secondly, the employee’s rights in relation to the flexible working request.
Dealing with the return from maternity leave first, our client’s legal obligation is to allow the employee to return to her original role and original terms and conditions of employment. In this case, that role is open and the employee could return to her full time role.
Dealing with the flexible working request, broadly speaking the employer’s responsibility is to properly consider the flexible working request and make a reasonable decision about whether or not it can accommodate the employee’s wishes.
We advised the employer about their legal obligations and encouraged them to think of alternatives that would enable them to retain a valued employee, part-time. We emphasised that there can be benefits to a job-share.
Frequently job-sharing employees will agree to cover each other’s holiday and sickness and will agree not to clash with each other’s holiday, and will support each other and give extra cover at busy periods.
In this case the employer needed a full time person in the role, but valued the employee. The employer responded to the employee and explained this. They offered to advertise in Staines, for an employee to job-share with the returning employee. The employer was able to find an employee to job share. A three-month trial of the new arrangement was agreed, which coincided with the new employee’s probation period. The employer was ultimately able to allow their existing employee to return part-time and to employ another employee to job-share with her.
Our Employment Solicitors in Staines were able to help with the flexible hours request that suited both the employer and employee and overall, the arrangement worked well.
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