Time Off For Kick Off?


The first official kick off for the FIFA World Cup 2014 was on Thursday the 12th of June at 9pm. Most likely, you would have skipped the farewells and goodbyes to your colleagues and rushed home for the opening ceremony.

Working From Home

YouGov have said that about 25% of men between 25 and 34 will take an unauthorised absence during the World Cup. This, understandably, could look fishy to any employer at this time of year, whether you are genuinely ill or not.

For those who do need to work from home, there are a number of reasons why it may be beneficial to you and your employer, whether the World Cup is on or not.

The Request to Work from Home

There are a number of reasons why working from home may suit you better than being stuck behind your desk every day. Many people find that if they have children, working from home can give them the flexibility they need to care for them and fulfil their work role. Also, for those that have a disability that makes it difficult to travel into the office, working from home can be a necessity.

A record number of people in the UK are now working from home, around 4.2 million in the first 3 months of 2014. But, how do you make a request to work from home to your employer?

At the moment, if you have worked for your employer for 26 weeks continuously you can request to work flexibly. Starting at the end of this month, it will become easier for people to request flexible working arrangements. Instead of it being only a legal right for those that care for a child or adult, the right to request flexible working will be open to everyone.

Does this mean that you will be given flexible working conditions so you can catch the World Cup quarter finals? The answer to this, obviously, is no!

The FIFA World Cup is simply not a good enough reason for your employer to give you the right to work from home. However, if there is some other kind of special circumstance that warrants a permanent change in your contract of employment, then you should talk to your employer about it.

Appealing a Refused Application

Your employer does not have to grant your application to work from home but they must accept and consider the application, they have a statutory duty to do this. Your employer may refuse your application for prescribed business reasons which would simply make it unworkable.

Prescribed business reasons that can lead to a refusal are:
  • The burden of additional costs
  • Detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demand
  • Inability to reorganise work among existing staff
  • Inability to recruit additional staff
  • Detrimental impact on quality
  • Detrimental impact on performance
  • Insufficient work during periods the employee wishes to work
  • Planned structural changes
If your application is refused because the information used to make the decision was incorrect or incomplete, you should appeal their decision to reject your application.

If you choose to appeal, your employer must hold an appeal meeting. Where an employer fails to properly consider an application or refuses the request for a reason other than one of the prescribed business reasons, the employee may have a claim to an Employment Tribunal.

Taking a claim to the employment tribunal is not covered by legal aid, but if you are a member of a union, you may be entitled to free legal assistance. If you are not a union member, you might consider joining, as most unions have access to expert legal advisers who specialise in Employment Law.

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