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Last chance to comment on ACAS flexible working code

The period for consultations on the ACAS Draft Code of Practice on the extended right to request flexible working closes on 20th May.

The Code sets out guidelines to help employers respond to requests for flexible working.

From 2014, the right to request flexible working will be extended to any employee with 26 weeks' continuous service, regardless of whether or not they have caring responsibilities.  In addition all employers will be required to deal with requests for flexible working ‘in a reasonable manner‘.

Whilst the guidelines set out some of the principles, they do not go as far as actually saying what a ‘reasonable manner’ is and all employers should be developing procedures for dealing with a potential increase in flexible working requests.

Any procedures should of course be fair and transparent, and incorporate clear records of requests, decisions and reasons for those decisions.  Ideally staff should be consulted on, and be aware of, the procedures to reduce the potential for disputes when request are processed.

The ACAS code together with instructions on how to respond can be viewed here: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4105