A recent decision in the case of Hainsworth v Ministry of Defence confirms that employers are not required to make reasonable adjustments for employees who are carers of disabled people. The Court of Appeal upheld the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s (EAT) decision finding that the duty to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act only applies where the employee or job applicant is disabled and does not extend to making reasonable adjustments for non-disabled employees associated with disabled people. Employers should note that an employee caring for a disabled person may request to work flexibly (as all employees with 26 weeks’ service will be able to do from 30 June 2014). However, consideration of a flexible working request is not subject to the same test of reasonableness as an adjustment for disability. Click here to read more on the Employment Law Change – June 2014, or Click here for a Timetable of Employment Law Changes 2014 Onwards.
From 30 June 2014 employees’ statutory right to request flexible working is widened. Prior to this date employees needed to meet eligibility requirements, such as having caring responsibilities for either a child or an adult in need of care. Under the new rules all an employee needs to be eligible to request flexible working is 26 weeks’ continuous service and not to have made a previous request within the last year. The statutory procedure for dealing with flexible working requests is also repealed.
That said, even eligible employees do not have the right to work flexibly, but rather a right to submit a request to their employer for flexible working. On receipt of the request, following the law change, the employer is under a duty to consider the request in a reasonable manner, but does not have to follow a statutory procedure.
- The right to request flexible working is available to employees with a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service with the employer.
- No qualifying period of employment is required for claiming unfair dismissal where an employee has been dismissed for making a request for flexible working.
- The right to request flexible working applies to both full-time and part-time employees.
- If a request for flexible working is refused, the employee must make any claims to an employment tribunal within three months of the ‘relevant date’
The DBS have responded to the requests of users and as a result have extended the window for joining their update service upon receipt of your certificate from 14 days to 19 days.
The update service, which for a small annual subscription allows applicants to have their DBS certificate kept up-to-date and take it with them from role to role (with certain criteria), enables employers to use an individual’s current DBS certificate to carry out a free, instant online check.
Some applicants and organisations had stated that they would like to use the update service but they missed the opportunity to join by not requesting it during the application process, and finding that the original 14 day window was too short. As a result of feedback on the process, applicants now have five more days to join the update service once individuals have received their certificate.