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Flexible Working Regulations

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The government has published the first draft of the Flexible Working (Procedural Requirements) Regulations 2002, made under the Employment Act 2002. They are intended to come into force on 6th April 2003.

As readers will know, the Employment Act 2002 gives employees with children under six a right to request flexible working. The employer is under no duty to accede - but must consider the request, hold a meeting with the employee if it intends to refuse, and put its reasons for refusal in writing.

The Regulations 'flesh out' the statutory framework. They provide:
• when an employer agrees to flexible working (known as a 'contract variation'), it must provide a written note of the contract variation agreed to and the date on which it is due to take effect;
• if the employer does not intend to accede to the contract variation, it must hold the meeting with the employee within 28 days of receiving the request;
• when a meeting is held, the result (and, if appropriate, reasons for refusal) must be given in writing within 14 days of the meeting;
• an employee has a right of appeal from an employer's refusal. The Regulations set out the procedure for appealing;
• the employee has the right to be accompanied at any meeting. Breach of this provision results in a compensation payment of up to two weeks' pay (limited to, currently, £250pw).
The Regulations can be seen at (Adobe Acrobat required).