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Employment Change Digest: Changes in Flexible Working and the Zero Hour Contract

Rights to Flexible Working Extended


LawFrom the 30th June 2014, the Government extended the right to request flexible working to all employees and removed the current statutory procedure for considering requests after 26 weeks of service. Prior to this, the right only applied to parents of children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and certain carers. Employers will have a duty to consider all requests in a reasonable manner although employers will have the right to refuse requests on business grounds.


Key points:

  • Requests should be in writing stating the date of the request and whether any previous application has been made and the date of that application
  • Requests and appeals must be considered and decided upon within three months of the receipt of the request
  • Employers must have a sound business reason for rejecting any request
  • Employees can only make one request in any 12 month period

For more information on the changes to flexible working requests and your responsibilities, click here to access the ACAS website.


Zero Hour Contact Exclusivity Scrapped


The government recently published its Small Business, Enterprise & Employment Bill, which set out a number of measures on employment tribunals, the national minimum wage and, importantly, the reforms to zero hours contracts, although a “right to request” regular hours for workers on zero hours contracts was not included in the bill.


Highlights of the Bill include:

  • Making exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts invalid and unenforceable so that no one is tied into a contract without any guarantee of paid work.
  • Introducing strong financial consequences for non-payment of employment tribunal settlements.
  • An increase in the penalties imposed on employers that breach national minimum wage legislation to £20,000 per worker, and;
  • Improving small businesses’ access to finance by removing legal barriers to invoice finance.

For more information on the contents of the Small Business, Enterprise & Employment Bill, click here to view the Bill Summary via the Government website.


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