Could SME's ever guarantee part-time work for new parents following family friendly leave?
23rd March 2012
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Hot from the desk of HR Expert Joy Arkley of the HR Dept West Wales

Top tips on flexible working requests

Could a small business ever really guarantee part-time work for new parents following family friendly leave?  Probably not!

Guaranteeing part-time work for returning parents from maternity, paternity or adoption leave is one step to enhance your brand’s image.  However the reality is very few businesses could ever actually follow HSBC’s recent announcement in the same vein.

The HR Dept receives plenty of calls about handling requests for flexible working following a working parent returning to the workplace. 

Employees have a statutory right to make a flexible working request and have it considered, in line with statutory procedures, but not for it to be accepted by the employer. If it is rejected, the reasons for grounds for the refusal are strict.

It is the employee who must put forward a suggestion for a flexible working pattern, outlining its impact and how it could be handled. Flexible working requests and their scope can be broad, such as;

  •     Working less than normal days and or fewer days
  •     Times of work could change – flexi-time for example
  •     Job sharing
  •     Home working

The problems (tribunal claims) that arise from flexible working request cases are mostly due to the failure to communicate properly and the failure to follow the statutory procedure, not necessarily because it was rejected on genuine grounds.

There are varying different views in the media so we thought we would share them with you:

Professional women who have children 'forced to accept low paid and unskilled roles'
Working Mum's feel men are discriminated against on flexible working
Micro maternity leave

The HR Dept’s top tips:

  •     Get advice on how to handle flexible working requests from the onset
  •     Remember that it is someone's right to make a flexible working       request, but not a right to have it accepted
  •     Explore all options when considering the request
  •     Always be fair and consistent

For further advice on flexible working and how it might benefit you as the employer as well as your employees give Joy a call on 01239 639 128.

PS Joy also offers a FREE HR audit.  so call her now

About the Author

Diana V

Member since: 10th July 2012

I am Diana Vickers, the site owner of thebestof Carmarthenshire. This was launched in Carmarthen town in June 2008, to support the very best of the area’s businesses with their promotions and marketing....

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