If an employee requests a flexible working arrangement they might be ineligible if they don’t meet the statutory requirements. When will this situation arise and how can you deal with it?
Eligibility criteria. An employee will be ineligible to make a flexible working request if they: (1) don’t have at least 26 weeks’ continuous service with you at the date their application is made; or (2) have made a previous statutory request for flexible working in the past twelve months. Our new Ineligible for Flexible Working Letter can be issued in both situations.
Previous requests. Ineligibility due to a previous request only applies where the employee’s previous request was made under the statutory right to request a flexible working arrangement - it doesn’t cover informal requests made outside the statutory provisions. It does cover earlier requests which were voluntarily withdrawn by the employee, or which you treated as having been withdrawn in accordance with the statutory provisions because of the employee’s conduct. This might be because they failed to attend, without good reason, the first or appeal meeting that you arranged to discuss their request and the next meeting that you arranged for that purpose.
Re-submission. Where an employee isn’t eligible to make a statutory flexible working request, their application won’t count as a request. Therefore, they can make another request as soon as they meet the eligibility criteria. Our letter advises them of this. In practice, it means that you could see their application being re-submitted within a matter of weeks, and certainly within the next year, assuming their circumstances haven’t changed in the meantime. With this in mind, there’s nothing to stop you considering their flexible working request outside of the statutory procedure, should you wish to do so.
(Courtesy of Employment Essentials)