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Precept decided to have a night out on the town the other day! Yes, that is right – we went out, OUT!!!!  You may have seen from our recent post that we hoofed it over to Newark to attend an exclusive dining experience that is often not found outside of Torquay. The WHOLE team (that’s right, we were joined by the delicious Robyn too – her first night out after becoming a Mummy!) were treated to the delights of the staff at Fawlty Towers. And hilarity ensued…

Philip was picked on from the very beginning.  He resonates the vibe “I am a fellow actor don’t you know?!” and Rob spent the whole night utterly terrified!  I am sure it was mentioned that I share certain character trails with Sybil…I don’t know what he means!!  Anyway, it was ace.  Can thoroughly recommend and what would be even better would be if you treated a Fawlty Towers fan but didn’t tell them the details.  That would only add to the hilarity!

What was so nice about the night is it proved what a flipping fab team we are. We all had an absolute blast taking the mickey out of each other and bonding over our love of all things a bit silly.  It basically couldn’t have been more Precept…in hindsight I just wished I had taken the little dude outfit!

The weekend in between our night out and Monday went quite quickly though, with the usual dancing (the kids, not me or Rob!) and ponies, and it was back to work with a bang! I wonder if that is how Acas felt, when they published their revised Code of Practice on Flexible working Requests shortly into the New Year?

We’ve been talking about changes to the statutory flexible working request scheme for ages now – and for good reason. There are big changes, fast approaching and you absolutely 1 hundred million percent need to be aware of them because I reckon your employees will be!

Part of the process of changing the legislative framework required Acas to produce and publish an updated Code of Practice on Flexible Working Requests (the Code).

The idea behind the Code is to set out very clearly for employers,  employees and representatives what the law on the statutory right to request flexible working actually says in 2024. It also provides good practice guidance on how to deal with a statutory flexible working request in a “reasonable” (lawyer term!) manner.

Failure to follow the Code doesn’t actually make employers liable for claims in its own right and it won’t result in any financial awards at the tribunal being increased, unlike other codes.

That doesn’t mean it’s not important though! Don’t get ahead of yourself.

Employment tribunals will take the Code into account when considering cases involving statutory flexible working requests and if you’ve failed to stick to the basics set out in it, then you’re likely going to struggle to defend the claim your employee is bringing.

So, what does the new revised code actually say?

  • First and foremost it sticks to the basics of the process for flexible working requests – how is the request made, how does the employer respond?;
  • It reflects the changes that will come into force from 6 April 2024 (quick recap: making the right to request flexible working a day one right, allowing 2 requests in any 12 month period, making it obligatory to meet with the employee if you’re thinking of rejecting the request and shortening the time you have to deal with the request to 2 months);
  • It recommends employers discuss other options around flexible working if they cannot fully agree to the employee’s original requests;
  • Without giving employees a statutory right to a companion at a meeting to discuss the flexible working request, it expands the list of individuals who might accompany the employee at such a meeting;
  • It removes the need to hold a formal meeting if the employer is going to simply agree to the change;
  • Finally, it makes crystal clear there is no statutory right to appeal the employer’s decision (although it’s still good practice to allow your employee the right to appeal).

If, like me, you’re a bit of a geek for this kind of thing, you can read the full Code here: Acas code of practice on requests for flexible working

We’re also expecting Acas to publish some separate and non-statutory guidance and you can bet your bottom dollar that we’ll keep you update on that.

If you want to know more about dealing with Flexible Working requests, keep your eyes peeled for our future webinar on this very topic. And if you can’t wait until then, get in touch with us! We’d love to talk you through it!

Keep an eye on our socials later this week as we are off to cook a Community Meal for the YMCA in Derby…think MasterChef mass catering challenge, then remember that neither Rob nor Catherine can cook…this should be interesting!  In order to get prepped, I have 100 portions of Lamingtons (an Aussie sponge cake dessert) to prep over the next 2 days, so I had better pop off …