A right to request flexible working for employees who care for children under six (or disabled children up to 18) was established in the UK by the Employment Act 2002. The request can relate to the number of hours the employee is required to work, the scheduling of work, and the location of work. The employer is not obliged to accede to the request but can only refuse an application on one of a number of specified grounds, including cost considerations and the impact on customers, performance, and quality. The Work and Families Act 2006 extended the right to include those who care for an adult partner or spouse or ‘near relative’, the latter including parents, parents-in-law, adult children, adopted adult children, siblings, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and step-relatives. Critics of the right to request flexible working feel that it gives insufficient entitlement to employees to secure a pattern of working time that allows them to combine work with caring responsibilities. [See carer, family-friendly policies, time sovereignty, and work-life balance.]
Subjects: Law — Human Resource Management.