HR in 90 Seconds - October 2018

Posted in : Supplementary Articles ROI on 22 October 2018
Legal Island
Legal Island
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In this month’s ‘HR in 90 Seconds’ we discuss flexible working including what constitutes flexible working, how to handle a request and some of the recent questions that your peers have been asking on the topic.

This month’s takeaway points include:

  • Examples of possible flexible working arrangements; and
  • 9 things to consider when handling a flexible working request.

Flexible Working

Michelle Ryan from RDJ discusses how advances in technology have led to a changing working environment where remote working is becoming both increasingly accessible and popular, with the result that requests for flexible working arrangements are becoming more common

In the UK, the provisions of the Employment Rights Act 1996 provide a statutory right for employees to ask their employer for a change to their contractual terms and conditions of employment to work flexibly, provided they have 26 weeks service.  Such a request can be made every 12 months.  There is no Irish equivalent to this provision, other than a statutory right to request changes to working hours or patterns of work, which is limited to employees returning from parental leave.  Otherwise, flexible working arrangements are at the discretion of the employer.

Flexible working patterns are those which alter what might be seen as a traditional working pattern, in other words working a set number of hours per day, five days per week. There are many ways an employer can offer flexible work arrangements, including:

  • varying start and finish times within certain limits (flexitime);
  • compressed hours;
  • Job sharing;
  • Part-time and temporary work; and
  • Working at or from home.

In considering a request for flexible working, employers should consider the following factors:  

  1. The personal needs of the requesting employee, for example, is it a request for reasonable accommodation related to a disability.  In considering any request you cannot discriminate against an employee;
  2. The costs associated with the proposed arrangement;
  3. Additional resources and cover need to meet flexible working arrangements and other business/operational needs of the Company and the effects of granting the request on those needs;   
  4. The need for and effect on supervision;
  5. The period of time covered by the request to work flexible arrangements.  For example, it should be clarified whether the employee envisages working the revised arrangement indefinitely or for a short term period.  It should also be considered whether the particular request will be in respect of certain days of week or for certain periods of the day, for example in the morning;
  6. How the applicant’s revised hours will fit in with the needs of the job;  
  7. Any detrimental impact on the ability to meet customer and organisational needs; 
  8. The inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff and the inability to recruit additional staff;
  9. Will there be sufficient work for that particular employee during the periods when the employee proposes to work;

Ailbhe Dennehy, Associate with A&L Goodbody's Employment Group, has provided answers to 10 of your questions on flexible working arrangements. In her answers, Ailbhe highlights the legal and data protection considerations during home-working arrangements, and how an employer can ensure that they maintain supervision when an employee is working from home.

Other items of interest:

Budget 2019 - Employment Related Changes

It is, of course, Budget 2019 time and Ken Killoran from Mazars has kindly written an article which sets out the employment-related changes.  

In Brief: Case Law Special 2018

It can be hard to keep up to date with case law developments – it’s all too easy to miss an important decision that could have major implications for employers and employees. This month we have pulled together a summary of 10 of the most interesting employment cases that have been decided over the last few months - we've removed the legal jargon to bring it to you in just a few lines to make the fundamental point.

If you have seen any HR related articles you’d like to share with Legal Island readers, drop a line to

This article is correct at 22/10/2018

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

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