Last week the government made two major announcements that impact the world of HR.

Flexible working

After years of discussion, changes to the right to request flexible working have been confirmed.

Employers will have to deal with more requests because employees will be able to make a request from day one of employment rather than having to wait 26 weeks. And they will be able to make two requests per 12 months, rather than one.

Employers will have to deal with requests quicker because the time limit on the whole process will drop to two months instead of three.

The process will take more thought on an employer’s part because employees will no longer have to explain the effect that the change they want will have on work and how the effect might be dealt with. Employers will also have to consult with the employee to discuss alternative arrangements if what they have asked for would have to be refused.

Action points

Employers will have to update their written flexible working policies and also change their procedures to make sure the process is complied with including reviewing any letters that they send to employees about their request. They’ll also need to change any timelines that they currently use because the process will have to be done quicker.

A date has not yet been confirmed for the changes, however employers should start preparing now.

Exclusivity Clauses

Any employee or worker who earns £123 per week or less cannot be stopped from getting additional work because of laws that came into effect yesterday.

“Exclusivity clauses” are often seen in contracts and they will say that the person is not allowed to take on additional work with another employer, or they must get permission from their employer first before they do so. These are legitimate clauses but they are now banned where the employee/worker earns £123 or lower on average each week. When employees breach this clause, employers will usually look to discipline/dismiss because they have broken a rule. But if an employer sacks someone who earns £123 or less for breaching this “rule”, it will be automatically unfair so they will end up in tribunal!

Action points

Employers should look at their contracts to see if there are any exclusivity clauses. If there are, look at the pay the employee is entitled to. If it means they ever get paid £123 or less on average per week, then the clause has to be removed.

If you think your Kent business might be effected, I am happy to come and visit you and review your current documents and procedures. Get in touch with me to arrange a convenient time.