Dealing with employees’ appeals against your flexible working decision

How to prepare for and conduct an appeals meeting

If you reject an employer’s request for flexible working, they have the right to appeal within 14 days of receiving notification of your decision. As an employer, you must then arrange an appeal meeting within the next 14 days.

As at the first meeting, the employee is allowed to be accompanied by another member of staff and the employer must notify the employee of the result of the appeal meeting within 14 days.

The grounds for appeal

When appealing against a decision, the employee must set out the grounds for appeal, but there are no constraints under which they can do so. It may be that they wish to bring to attention something they feel the employer might not originally have been aware of, or that the situation has now changed, e.g. a member of staff might now be willing to cover the hours the employer no longer wishes to work.

Alternatively, it may be to challenge the ‘business ground’ stated as the reason for rejection by the employer.

Who should attend?

There are no restrictions on which levels of management should attend the appeal meeting. However, employees are far more likely to feel that their appeal has been taken seriously when a manager senior to the one who originally considered the application hears it – although this is not always possible for small businesses.

The meeting

Again, as with the first meeting, it’s essential to listen to the employee’s request and consider if it’s possible that you can meet it without jeopardising an aspect of the business.

Address the points of appeal directly and discuss how they might or might not make a difference to your original decision.

As with the original meeting, if the appeal is dismissed the written decision must:

  • State the grounds for the decision. These will be appropriate to the employee’s own grounds for making the appeal;

  • Provide an explanation as to why the grounds for refusal apply in the circumstances. The same principles apply as to what is a sufficient level of explanation.

  • A written notice of the appeal outcome constitutes the employer’s final decision and is effectively the end of the formal procedure within the workplace.

Alternatively, if the appeal is accepted the written decision must:

  • include a description of the new working pattern

  • state the date from which the new working pattern is to take effect and be dated.

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