Flexible working online clinic update

Did you know that staff who have unpaid caring responsibilities for anyone, including children and the elderly (whether related to them or not), now have the legal right to request a change to their hours of work, times of work and/or place of work?

New legislation was introduced in Jersey on 1 September 2015 that significantly changes the employment landscape, yet many employers remain unaware of the new employee rights.

We ran a free online clinic on Wednesday 14 October to give the opportunity to ask our team of experts any questions on flexible family rights. Participants just needed to present their questions on either Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin and use the the hashtag #AskLAW.

Some of the questions asked:

Question: If I employ a cleaner on an informal basis for two hours a week, cash in hand, does that mean that we need to have a contract agreed?
Answer: Unless you want to employ them as an employee, you don’t need a contract as your cleaner is self-employed.

Question: Is there a set process if a member of staff requests flexible hours or do I have to devise my own?
Answer: Yes, there is a set process. LAW can help you understand the stages of this. The first stage is to hold a meeting with your employee within 28 days of the application for flexible working being made.

Question: If I refuse an application for flexible working, how much detail do I have to give?
Answer: You have to give a valid business reason. By law, employers can only refuse on the following grounds:

  • It will create a burden of additional costs;
  • The business will be unable to meet customer demand;
  • The business will be unable to re-organise work among existing staff or by recruiting additional staff;
  • It will have a detrimental effect on the quality or performance of the business;
  • There is insufficient work for the employee to do during the period the employee proposes to work;
  • It will have a detrimental effect on planned staffing changes;
  • The employee will receive remuneration for the care that they would provide.

Question: If an application for flexible hours has been declined for a valid reason, can the employee reapply?
Answer: Yes, you can reapply as long as you do not reapply within 12 months or make another application for flexible working within 12 months. You may, of course, appeal the decision to decline the application.

Question: What if I don’t believe the reasons given when an employee requests part-time work?
Answer: The application for flexible working has to inform you of the person who they are caring for. There is nothing to stop you from asking for further details if you are unsure of their circumstances.

How we can help

We will help you understand the implications of the flexible working changes for your business. Whether you need clarification, or require training support, we can advise you. Call us on 01534 887088 or email us on enquiry@lawatworkci.com to find out more.

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