Where a flexible working request is made too far in advance?

Where a flexible working request is made too far in advance?

January 27, 2024

We recently had a call from a Nursery Manager asking about flexible working.  An employee was due to go on maternity leave and had requested flexible working as she intended to return in 9 months’ time.

The Nursery Manager was concerned, that while the employee had the right to make this request that neither the nursery nor the employee would know what lay ahead and she felt that the employee’s request was premature.

But how could she discuss that with the employee?

It is a delicate subject, but we advised that the Nursery Manager needed to have a conversation with the employee to see if they wished to defer the request until after the birth, not to avoid dealing with it but to allow the employee to be in a better position to judge what she might want and the employer to be in a better position to know what they can accommodate.

This will be less of an issue in 2024 when employees will have the right to make two requests in 12 months, rather than just the one they can currently make.

While we have it all planned as parents, from the moment that bundle of joy lands in your life, plans can go out the window. What we see as the road ahead can have many twists and turns from once there is that other person to consider.

From the Nursery’s point of view, it also allows for decision making on a flexible working request to be done with a better understanding of the numbers of children, monies, and resources available when the request will take effect. Its often very difficult to assess a request that will only take place in many months’ time.

Therefore, assessing the request nearer the time is of benefit to both parties.

However, an employee has the right to stick to their guns and if they decide to do so, then you will need to deal with the request at the time it is made.

Here however, the Nursery Manager and the employee had a chat about it mentioning some of the factors above and the employee having spoken to mum about it, agreed to deferring the flexible working request until the end of her ordinary maternity leave. So a date was put in the diary for that to take place, and all parties were happy with that outcome.

Flexible Working rules will be changing on 6th April 2024 and employers will need to revise their Flexible Working Policies. Don’t worry we will have your back and will be launching a new Flexible Working Pack in the coming weeks.

If you need assistance with any aspect of Flexible Working Requests, please call us on 01527 909436.

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