Work from Home ("WFH") is still a significant buzz topic at the moment in Jersey. As people return to the office, one of things we are seeing is an increase in the number of requests for people to WFH. Sometimes these are formal requests, backed up by legitimate reasons/concerns. Sometimes these are informal requests, and may on the face of it appear unjustified.
Businesses that receive a request for WFH must however treat it seriously. Although employees need to say why they want to WFH, they do not need to establish any particular reason. The burden is on the business to review the request, within the relevant time limit, namely to meet within 28 days and reach a decision within 42 days. A business can only reject a request based on statutory reasons (such as detrimental effect on business or needs of the businesses customers). Businesses must also not simply ignore a request, just because it was not made "formally".
In a Jersey Employment Tribunal decision published today, the Tribunal confirmed that the following questions will be asked:
1) did the application state that it was to change the terms and conditions of employment?
2) did it concern the hours, times or places of work?
3) did it specify the changes that were sought?
4) did it set out the reasons for making the application.
The application does not need to say it is an application under A15A of the Employment (Jersey) Law 2003. The key point is that an employee puts in writing that they would like to change their terms of employment. If this happens, the employer must consider it.
We expect to see an increase in formal and informal requests. Do not ignore these - as there are penalties for failure to do so, and it is likely to affect your employer brand.
The only criticism that could be made of the email by reference to Article 15A is that it did not specifically state that it was an application pursuant to Article 15A. I do not find that such criticism is material. To be entirely fair to the Respondent no such criticism was raised. In my view this is plainly an application by the Claimant to make a change to the terms of her employment: