Flexible Work Arrangement Week on May, 2025: Employment law - flexible working query?

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Employment law - flexible working query?

You have had a very good answer from Steve B.

Many employers get in a spin over formal requests for 'flexible working'. One problem is they are not 'flexible' at all, but a permanent contractual change. Though you have every right to feel hard done by if they haven't followed their own procedures, there is a pretty long list of reasons they can give to decline you.

All the stuff about holiday cover, signing on and dentists is irrelevant.

Goof employers can engage their employees in such a way that a variety of work patterns can be adopted, but they are still a rarity, unfortunately.

Best wishes.

Employment Law Questions about Flexible Working/Homeworking/Work-Life Balance?

Employment Law Questions about Flexible Working/Homeworking/Work-Life Balance?

Your circumstances suggest you have no statutory right to request so-called 'flexible working', which (as you acknowledge) usually entails caring for someone.

A verbal agreement is still an agreement; it's just harder to prove. But it does seem to have been framed as a trial. Continuing to work on that basis, without your employer challenging it, suggests they have no concerns. Were it to continue for (say) 12 months or more, then you could begin to rely on it as the accepted arrangement. Their is no magic threshold though, so 12 to 18 months is just a guide.

It is a bit debatable what rights they strictly have to revert to the previous arrangements, but on their side is your original contract terms - which have not been altered in writing. They seem to believe it helps them change their mind if nothing is written down, and it would be hard for you to prove otherwise - say, at an Employment Tribunal.

You could try to encourage them to formalise things, but I agree with KL that it's probably best to leave things as they are. You run the risk of getting the arrangements withdrawn or reduced, so only you know if the risk is worth taking.

Good luck.

My kitten is nine weeks old and ....

My kitten is nine weeks old and ....

Just as you would child-proof you home to make it safe for kids, you will need to kitten-proof your home to make it safe for your new addition. Anything that could fall and hurt her, (such as a large candle) make sure it's not accessable to her. Don't bother with the spray bottle, as most cats view it as a form of play, (especially kittens). Provide a scratching post so she has something that's appropriate for her to scratch. Trimming her claws will help prevent her from destroying furnature or climbing up things you don't want her to. Use cat claw trimmers and only take off a tiny bit at the end of the nail. Some people say to do it every other week. I think it‘s safer to cut off less than you are told, and to do it more often, (like once a week). Never use trimmers that are made for humans or dogs, because you are more likely to hurt her that way. You can ask your vet or groomer to show you the proper way to do it. Here's a website that shows you how:

Young kittens between the ages of 3 weeks old and 8 months old will be teething off and on, and will have very strong needs to bite. Just like baby children, kittens are born without teeth, start getting their first baby teeth at about 3-4 weeks old, then they will lose their baby teeth and have their adult teeth come in up until the age of about 8 months old. So the trick here is not to keep them from biting; but rather, to provide them appropriate items to bite. We use heavy-duty plastic drinking straws with our kittens, (being careful to cut off any bitten ends and discard the entire straw before it becomes dangerous, as with any toy), and train them from the start that toys and straws are purr-rectly fine to bite, but human body parts are off-limits! If a kitten learns this from the start, there is hardly ever an inappropriate biting behavior as an adult. Some cats start biting out of frustration after they have been de-clawed. Some cats start biting out of misplaced aggression, which usually can be countered by providing the cat a feline playmate, and/or providing them more cat toys, cat furniture, and making their environment more stimulating for them. Any time the kitten bites you make a loud “yowling” sound. If you’ve ever witnessed a cat get hurt, you will probably know what this sounds like. After you yowl, walk away and ignore the kitten. Never yell at or hit a cat. At all times, it is critical that you be thinking and acting on the firm belief that "toys and straws are for biting; human hands are for giving and receiving love.”

Chewing on these cords poses hazards to your cat, from minor shock to death. Cats primarily chew on cords out of boredom, especially if left alone during the day. Try to provide plenty of "play-alone" toys for your cat or kitten, including wall or door mounted toys they can swat or bat around, cat towers to explore, with attached toys for added interest, even an arrangement of cardboard boxes on the floor to form a tunnel, with holes cut through the sides.

To handle the cord situation itself, you need to devise a way to cover the cords, discourage access to them, or make them unpalatable for chewing.

- Cover the cords: Many computer supply stores carry pre-split hollow tubing for covering cords and electrical wires, as well as kits for managing computer cords. If you're handy with a utility knife, you can purchase flexible poly tubing in several diameters, in most building supply or hardware stores. Slit one side of the tubing, then cut it to length for each cord. You might also try larger "corrugated" tubing to run several wires through, if that works for you.

- Discourage access to the cords: Try applying several rows of double-sided sticky tape to the floor surrounding a large cord tangle (such as frequently happens with computers). Cats will be reluctant to walk across the tape. Another excellent tool for keeping cats out of any undesirable area is the SssCat! cannister by Multivet. This product is a three-pronged training tool which works with a motion detector atop the cannister which triggers a high-pitched alarm and a quick spray of harmless material. It's a lot more expensive than bitter apple spray, but well worth the cost in its versatility for training purposes.

- Make the Cords Taste Bad: By far one of the best training tools for any kind of destructive chewing is bitter apple spray. It is guaranteed to leave a bad taste in your cats mouth, one that he won't long forget.

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