As an employee, you may have the right to ask your employer if you can work flexibly and your employer must properly consider your request.

If you want more child-friendly hours or you wish to enforce your maternity or parental rights, we can guide and advise you. At Springhouse Solicitors we deal exclusively with employment law, meaning we are genuine experts.

If your family and flexible working rights are not being observed, we can represent you in requesting that your employer deal fairly with your situation.

Maternity rights

When you are pregnant or have had a baby you have legal rights which protect you from unfair treatment and also make certain allowances.

You are entitled to take maternity leave of up to one year and you may also be entitled to maternity pay.

While you are pregnant you can take paid time off to go to any antenatal appointments that your doctor or midwife recommends.

You are also entitled to a safe working environment, which could mean your employer making changes to your working conditions to ensure that your health and safety are protected.

What is flexible working?

Flexible working is simply working hours that are more suitable to family life and caring for others. There are a number of different options, including flexi-time, staggered working, part-time working, job-sharing, compressed hours and working from home.

See our article, what are the advantages and disadvantages of flexible working?

Flexible working for parents

As a parent, flexible working can improve family life and give you the chance to be around when your children most need you. It has also been shown to be beneficial to employers as employees are happier, can be more productive and are more likely to stay in a job that offers them suitable hours.

Those who have the right to apply for flexible working arrangements are parents with children aged under 6 or a disabled child aged under 18.

The rights also extend to those who care for a spouse, a partner or another close relative who lives with them.

The request can be in relation to the hours and time worked as well as the place of work, ie. home or workplace.

How to apply for flexible working

The request should be made in writing, to include confirmation that it is a request made under your statutory right to work flexibly.

You should include details of who the family member is for whom you will be caring and set out your proposal for the flexible working arrangements you would like together with your proposed start date.

You must also include some information about the effect you think your flexible working would have on your employer’s business and how this could be dealt with.

If you have made a previous request, you should mention this, to include the date on which it was made.

Your employer is required to seriously consider your request. If they agree, they will need time to implement any changes, which could reasonably be three months.

Are flexible working arrangements permanent?

If your working arrangements are changed, then the new agreement is permanent and you will not have the right to return to your previous working time unless this was specifically agreed at the outset.

Can flexible working be refused?

You have the right to request flexible working, but not the right to work flexibly. This means that your employer can say no in some circumstances, but they do have a duty to consider your request seriously.

If your employer does not agree the request, they should hold a meeting with you within a month of receiving your application. They can refuse your request on a number of grounds including costs, the effect on customers or clients, where the quality of work would suffer, if existing staff could not cover the changes, where more staff could not be taken on or where there is a lack of work during the period of time you wish to work.

You should receive their refusal in writing together with their reason. You have the right to appeal.

How we can help

If you believe your employer has unreasonably refused your request for flexible working and you wish to take this further you can obtain legal advice about commencing legal action against them. We can recommend the next steps to be taken, which would generally be the raising of a formal grievance, then mediation with a third party to try to reach a mutual agreement. If this does not resolve the situation, then you may wish to bring a claim to an employment tribunal.

Find out what rights employees with families have

Our expert employment law solicitors can help ensure that your family rights are honoured and that you receive the benefits and facilities you are entitled to.

We can give you a clear picture of what you should expect from your employer and, if required, help you raise any grievances or pursue a case of discrimination.

Protecting your maternity rights

We are experts in pregnancy and maternity rights. We can guide you through them and let you know if they haven’t been upheld. We will protect you from discrimination and dismissal.

We will take an active and practical approach to resolving matters and advancing your interests. We have a proven track record is resolving cases successfully and achieving better working conditions and favourable exit packages.

Take action if your rights have been infringed

We can help you take action if your family rights have been infringed at work. Our specialist employment law solicitors will assess your case and advise on the best course of action.

Whether it’s writing a letter to your employer, raising a grievance or bringing a claim of discrimination that could end in a tribunal, we will guide you through the process and ensure that you are taking the correct and appropriate steps.

Contact us for an initial chat with our helpful team.

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