While planning for future work organisation, you may be reflecting on your organisation’s experience of temporary flexible working arrangements during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These may include the switch to working from home and flexibility around hours to help employees commute outside busy times, home school or have more choice on working hours generally. 
We’re seeing an increase in employee requests for permanent flexible working arrangements. 
Based on your experiences and business needs, you could consider a full or partial switch to homeworking for staff and flexible arrangements such as compressed hours (full-time hours over fewer days), annualised hours (fixed number of annual hours with core hours), job sharing and changes to start and finish times (flexitime). 
 
Agile working, a term used to describe a method of adaptable working that can respond quickly to business need, can include flexible working arrangements.Employees that were employed and on the payroll on 23rd September 2020 (the day before the Job Support Scheme announcement), and who were made redundant or stopped working afterwards can be re-employed and claimed for. 
 
The employer must have made an RTI submission to HMRC from 20th March 2020 to 23rd September 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for those employees. 
 
Providing opportunities for homeworking and flexibility on hours may be advantageous for employers in terms of reducing the need for workspace and increasing productivity from employees. Giving staff greater control over their work-life balance can also have a positive impact on their general health and wellbeing. 
 
The statutory right to request flexible working is available to all employees with 26 weeks' service. There is a statutory process to follow for dealing with statutory flexible working requests so organisations should adopt a fair and consistent approach for flexible working for their workforce that avoids a potential discrimination claim. 
 
A permanent change to working hours or location will require a variation to employment contracts. 
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss how to deal with a request. 
 
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