How could new legislation on flexible working affect dentistry?

How could new legislation on flexible working affect dentistry?

Employees are to get the right to request flexible working as soon as they begin a job under new government laws.

Last week, the government said it would introduce laws giving employees the right to request flexible arrangements from the moment they begin a new role.

It said around 1.5 million low-paid workers – including students and carers – would also benefit, as they are free to boost their income by taking on a second job if they wished.

Sarah Buxton, HR and employment lawyer at FTA Law, details what this new legislation would mean for dentistry:

Pros and cons

It is important to note that the new proposals in respect of flexible working apply to employees only and not the self-employed members of the team.

There are pros and cons to flexible working for both the employee and the employer. The benefits include increased wellbeing, resulting in a happier more motivated team. It will also help attract and retain staff, and can also cut down on absenteeism.

The disadvantages include communication becoming harder to effect. This can impact on patients and the business. It also can add additional costs, if for example you have to recruit to cover the non-working days/hours.

In my opinion the current legislation we have in place works well and achieves a balance between the needs of the employee and those of the business.

Currently the legislation states that an employee has to be employed for a minimum period of 26 weeks before a flexible working request can be made.

Time confusing and stressful

With these new proposals, I struggle with how a smaller business like a dental practice will cope with an employee who applies for, is offered and starts a job subject to certain days and hours only to then make a request to change those terms on their first day of work.

It could prove to be a huge headache for the dental practice. Not to mention the process being time consuming and often quite stressful for all involved.

Another headache I see for dental practices is that the changes proposed will mean the employee will be able to make two flexible working requests in any 12 month period as opposed to one.

This means that following any refusal to agree to a request, the employer may then be forced to go through the whole process again within a relatively short period of time.

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