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Today is National Aunt and Uncle's day - What are your flexible working rights?

View profile for Emily Yeardley
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The 26th July is recognised as Aunt and Uncle’s day in the United States, and what better way to celebrate than by spending time with nieces and nephews.

If you’d like to make the arrangement more permanent but can’t because of your working arrangements, then you could consider making a flexible working request to your employer. Flexible working could involve a change in hours, times or place of work.

Before June 2004, the right to request flexible working was only available to parents with children under the age of 17, parents who have a disabled child under the age of 18, or people who care for an adult. Since the introduction of the Flexible Working Regulations in 2004, this right has been extended so that anyone can make a statutory flexible working request, provided they have worked for their employer for 26 consecutive weeks, at the date of application. This means that such a request is not restricted to parents but could be made by grandparents or even aunts and uncles.

It is the employer’s duty to give reasonable consideration to a flexible working request and weigh up the advantages, costs and logistical implications of granting the request. The process should be completed within 3 months of the application, unless agreed otherwise. An employer is permitted to refuse a flexible working request, either on eligibility grounds or for one or more of the proscribed statutory reasons.

Whilst there does not need to be a specific reason for an employee to request flexible working, it is prudent for an employer to ascertain the reason for the request, as refusal could potentially give rise to other claims, such as discrimination. Discrimination is when someone is treated less favourably because of a protected characteristic. These characteristics include age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

If you would like to discuss flexible working or any matters raised above, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Employment Team.

This article is not a definitive statement of the law. It is designed as a free update on the law at the time of publishing. It is not a substitute for legal advice on specific facts and circumstances. BakerLaw LLP and/or the writer accepts no liability or responsibility for reliance on this article and recommends that you seek independent legal advice on your specific circumstances prior to taking any steps.

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