Case Study

Flexible Working Request


Flexible Working Request – Charity

What was the HR situation?

  • A medium sized charity received a flexible working request from the employee to work part-time and to change their start and finish times.
  • The CEO stated that this could not be agreed, as the employee needed to work full-time and at set time.

How did the Birch-HR Consultant(s) support?

  • Birch HR undertook the investigation on behalf of the firm, drafted an investigation plan, interviewed witnesses, gathered the facts and prepared a report. 
  • The HR Consultant explained the law, that the employee had a right to make a flexible working request, as they had worked for the employer for over 26 weeks, classed as an employee and had not made other flexible working requests in the last 12-months.
  • It was explained that the Charity had to consider the flexible working request and decide within 3 months.
  • The HR Consultant outlined the permitted business reasons for refusing the request, such as the burden of additional costs, inability to recruit additional staff, insufficiency of work during periods the employee proposed to work and detrimental impact on performance and quality etc.
  • The HR Consultant advised that both parties may need to compromise, that this could be the start of cultural change for part time working, the benefits for the charity/team and they drafted all the CEO/employer written responses to send to the employee in line with employment law and endeavouring to reach agreement.
  • The employee and the representative were stating that the Charity had to accept the flexible working request and that was the law.
  • The flexible working request was accepted by the employer, but with clear business reasons for partially refusing the request, such as the inability to accommodate specified start and finish times.
  • The CEO and HR continued to consult with the employee but were unable to reach agreement.
  • The employee was offered a right of appeal.

What was the outcome and how did HR add value?

  • The employee appealed the decision to not fully accommodate their flexible working request and the Charity provided a clear business case to justify their position. The appeal was not upheld.
  • HR supported the CEO to help prepare for the appeal with the Board of Trustees.
  • HR advised the CEO throughout the process, drafted responses on behalf of the Charity and ensured that HR advice was within the law, ACAS code and HR policies.
  • HR helped manage risk for the Charity, ensured compliance with flexible working legislation, best practice, employee engagement and instigated culture change.
  • HR advised the CEO, as it was unclear how the change will work in practice, the Charity could consider a trial. If a flexible working trial is successful, the Charity can continue with the new arrangements. Therefore, this did not commit the employer or employee to a new working pattern without a review.

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