Written by: Steven Petter
We all know that getting a healthy work/life balance can be difficult, but achieving it can bring numerous rewards. On average people who feel their personal life is not hindered by their working pattern find they actually enjoy their work more, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that happy staff make better staff. It’s not always easy going to your boss and asking for flexible working patterns to fit around the various facets of your life but it’s now becoming easier to do so and in fact the law is on your side if you wish to pursue a change.
Your entitlements as an employee
From April 2014 all employees who have been contracted by their employer for 26 weeks or more will be entitled to ask for flexible working patterns assuming they have good enough grounds to warrant such a move. You can only make one application to change your hours in a 12 month period so you need to make sure when you do, you get it right first time because if your move is rejected because you didn’t supply enough information then you will have no grounds for appeal and you will need to wait another year before you can ask again.
Be clear what you want and why
When you are thinking about changing your hours you need to have it clear in your head why it is you need to change them and how the change will have a positive effect, whether it be for childcare purposes or to start a college course, you should be clear exactly what time you need and what you are willing to do to get them. Remember if you go some way to helping your employer and at least appear to be thinking about their interests as well as yours, then you are more likely to get what you want. Put your request in writing, laying down exactly what it is you would like to do, how this change would help you and your family and if possible how you are willing to help them. If you are applying for flexible hours to complete a college course then try outlining how the course will make you a better employee with new skills and abilities. Once your employer has had the chance to look over what you’ve given them you will need to sit down with them and talk through the proposal, possibly making some changes along the way to suit both parties, they will then need to give you a decision in writing.
The right to appeal if refused
If you find you have been refused flexible working hours but believe you have presented an overwhelming case, then you may have the opportunity to appeal which will be done through the company and you should seek advice from your HR manager. If you have been refused but you have not clearly stated why you required the hours or you were unwilling to make small change to your request in the meeting, then it’s likely you will be unable to appeal, or at least if you do then theÂ appeal will not have the desired outcome. Take the time to sit down and do your research before you go into the meeting and make sure you are fully aware of what it is you need before you start asking for things you are unlikely to get.