Working Parents Struggle as Childcare Costs Rise – Making a Flexible Working Request

Now more than ever, working parents may need to consider making a flexible working request. This is because parents of children in nursery or primary school now face £600 of additional daycare costs per month. These findings have been reported by Pebble, the flexible childcare provider, who explains that 37% of parents feel extra financial strain caused by rising expenses. 

Below, we discuss the economic pressures parents with jobs face and what employee support employers could provide. We also explore how a request for a flexible working arrangement could be made and the potential next steps should this be rejected.

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Topics Covered

  1. The Impacts Of Rising Childcare Costs on Parents With Jobs
  2. Can Employers Support Parents?
  3. How To Make A Flexible Working Request
  4. Can I Claim If My Flexible Working Request Is Rejected?

The Impacts Of Rising Childcare Costs on Parents With Jobs

Pebble’s research links the growing requirements for employees to reduce working from home with increasing expenses regarding infant care. They found that 50% of parents plan to leave their jobs once they’ve found a role with more home working. Furthermore, more than a third of working parents have already moved jobs to reduce their time in the office.

The charity Pregnant Then Screwed (PTS) also published an article on how childcare costs are affecting parents. PTS outlines how 41% of parents have seen a rise in these expenses by 5% to 10%, whilst an additional 14% claim they have increased by more than 10%.

Moreover, 61% of parents discussed how they or their partner reduced their working hours because of infant care costs or availability. PTS also found that 20% of parents in homes making less than £50,000 are quitting their jobs following these increasing costs.

Can Employers Support Parents?

With daycare costs rising and studies highlighting parents’ current struggles, knowing what employee support companies can provide is valuable. Employers could give flexi work to parents to support them, which includes more than just home working.

Flexi work could consist of compressed hours, where employees work their contractual amount over fewer days. Also, an employer might provide greater freedom regarding start and finish times. Alternatively, they could allow an employee to drop their hours to part-time. Each employer offers different support options, so speaking with them is advisable before submitting a flexible working request.

How To Make A Flexible Working Request

The Employment Rights Act 1996 and Flexible Working Regulations 2014 set out when a request for flexible working can be made. To proceed, the individual must:

  • Have worked for their employer for a minimum of 26 weeks
  • Legally be an employee
  • Not have requested flexible working already in the previous 12 months

The request must be made in writing, stating that the employee is making a ‘statutory flexible working request’. Also, it must include information like the date the employee is sending the request and what change they are requesting.

Should an employee satisfy the eligibility criteria, their employer must deal with the request fairly, complying with the ACAS Code of Practice. They must also provide a decision about the request within three months.

Supposing a request is approved, the employer should put this in writing. By law, certain elements must be put in writing, such as changes to an employee’s salary or working hours. There are circumstances where an employer could reject a request. For example, if it would cost the company too much or negatively affect performance, the employer could lawfully reject it.

Can I Claim If My Flexible Working Request Is Rejected?

If an employee believes their flexible working request was wrongly rejected, they could appeal. Firstly, they could speak informally with their employer about the decision to try and find a solution.

Should the matter remain unresolved or the employee prefer a more formal approach, they could raise a grievance. Failure to reach an agreement could result in the employee taking the case to an employment tribunal.

Contact our solicitors today if you believe your flexible working request was wrongfully rejected. We can determine your case’s eligibility and advise you on your next steps. To get in touch with Redmans Solicitors, simply: