Q&As

In relation to an employee who is about to go on maternity leave, and who has submitted a request to work part-time on her return to work after maternity leave, is an employer obliged to make a decision about that request now, particularly as its decision will depend upon future business requirements, which it might not yet be aware of, or can its decision be delayed?

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Published on LexisPSL on 28/09/2018

The following Employment Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • In relation to an employee who is about to go on maternity leave, and who has submitted a request to work part-time on her return to work after maternity leave, is an employer obliged to make a decision about that request now, particularly as its decision will depend upon future business requirements, which it might not yet be aware of, or can its decision be delayed?

The response below assumes that the employee has submitted a flexible working request in accordance with the requirements of section 80F of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996), and Flexible Working Regulations 2014, SI 2014/1398, reg 4, and that she satisfies the eligibility criteria for being entitled to make the request.

For comprehensive guidance on flexible working, generally, see Practice Note: Flexible working. See also the main section of that Practice Note dealing with Who is eligible to make a statutory request.

The employer’s duties in relation to a flexible working request under ERA 1996, s 80F are listed in ERA 1996, s 80G. These are:

  1. to deal with the application in a reasonable manner

  2. to notify the employee of its decision within the ‘decision period’, and

  3. only to refuse the application if one of the listed statutory grounds applies

In relation to the ‘decision period’, the decision period for a given application:

  1. begins on the date that the application is made, and

  2. ends at the end of:

    1. the period of three months beginning with that day, or

    2. such

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