Morecrofts to hold free flexible working seminar

Changes to the law in recent years mean that every employee now has the right to request flexible working and Liverpool law firm Morecrofts is hosting a free online seminar for employers

Charles Millett
Charles Millett, head of the employment law and HR team at Morecrofts Solicitors

 

Businesses are being urged to understand the rules around flexible working or risk exposing themselves to expensive potential claims from employees.

Changes to the law in recent years mean that every employee now has the right to request flexible working, regardless of whether they have children or not, and their employers are obliged to consider that request carefully.

The high-profile case of estate agent Alice Thompson, who was awarded £180,000 in damages after her employer failed to consider her request for flexible working, has again highlighted the need for businesses and staff to understand the law in this area.

Football club AFC Fylde was also recently criticised for a job post which told people not to apply if they wanted to pick their children up from school. This trend has prompted Morecrofts Solicitors in Liverpool to host a free online seminar next month giving practical advice to employers about flexible working.

Charles Millett, employment law partner at the city centre firm, said: “The pandemic has reframed the conversation around flexible working, with many more people now much more confident in their ability to work from home effectively, without reducing productivity.

“Now more than ever, it’s crucial for businesses of all shapes and sizes to formally recognise a request for flexible working, rather than ignoring it and hoping staff will accept the status quo. Clearly, not every industry lends itself to flexible working, but employers should be open-minded wherever they can and not assume that a change to how things have always been done means it cannot be done in future.

“If they are planning to reject a request or contest elements of it, they should sit down with the staff member in a reasonably quick time to discuss the details of the proposed arrangement. Any decision to reject the request must fit within one of the prescribed reasons under the law, such as a negative impact on customers or colleagues.”

“Some employers, ourselves included, are actively pursuing hybrid working models where staff are not required to be in the workplace every day. That more progressive approach puts even further pressure on more traditional businesses to rethink how they work to attract and retain the best staff and ensure they remain on the right side of the law.”

Morecrofts’ free seminar will be online and takes places on Tuesday, October 5. For more information contact alp@morecrofts.co.uk or click here.

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