What are the qualifying conditions?

All employees are entitled to a meeting with their employer for the purpose of requesting flexible working arrangements, provided that they have at least 6 months’ continuous service with the same employer. Another condition is that the employee must be the parent of a child under the age of 9 or provide personal care or assistance to a family member or a person living in the same household who requires considerable care or assistance for a serious medical reason certified by a doctor.

The serious medical reason corresponds to the one that allows the new carer’s leave to be granted: i.e. one that reduces the person’s capacity and autonomy, rendering them incapable of compensating or coping independently with physical, cognitive or psychological deficiencies or health-related constraints or demands.

What are "flexible working arrangements"?

The term “flexible working arrangements” refers to the possibility for employees to adapt their working conditions, including by means of teleworking, flexible working hours or a reduction in working time, for a fixed period which may not exceed one year. The employer and employee may, where appropriate, agree any other flexible working arrangement, provided that such arrangement does not disadvantage the employee.

How can the employer respond?

The employer examines the request for flexible working arrangements and responds within one month, taking into account its own needs and those of the employee.

If the employer refuses to grant the request or decides to postpone it, it must send the reasons for refusing or postponing the request to the requesting employee by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt.

How is the return to the original working arrangement organised?

The employee has the right to return to the original working arrangement at the end of the period agreed for the flexible working arrangements granted.

They have the right to ask to return to the original working arrangement before the end of the agreed period, if a change in circumstances justifies this. In this case, the employer will examine the request to return to the original working arrangement earlier and respond within one month, taking into account both its own needs and those of the employee.

Is the employee protected against dismissal?

The employer is not authorised to notify the employee of the termination of his employment contract or, where applicable, of the notice to attend the interview prior to dismissal on the grounds that the employee has requested or benefited from several flexible working arrangements.

Termination of the employment contract in breach of this article is null and void.

Within fifteen days of the dismissal, the employee may apply to the President of the Labour Tribunal, who shall rule as a matter of urgency and as in summary proceedings, with the parties heard or duly summoned, to declare the dismissal null and void and to order that his contract of employment be maintained. The order of the president of the labour court is provisionally enforceable. It may be appealed by simple request, within fifteen days of notification through the court registry, to the judge presiding the division of the Court of Appeal to which appeals in employment law are assigned. The case is decided as a matter of urgency, after the parties have been heard or duly summoned.

Are the employment and the rights attached to it to be maintained?

Throughout the period agreed for flexible working arrangements, the employer is obliged to keep the employee’s job or, if this is not possible, a similar job corresponding to the employee’s qualifications and offering at least equivalent pay.

The duration of this period is taken into account when determining seniority rights. The employee retains all the benefits he/she had acquired before the start of this period.

Can an employee be subject to reprisals or less favourable treatment?

An employee may not be subject to reprisals or less favourable treatment for having made a request for flexible working arrangements or for having benefited from them.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Employers who fail to comply with these new obligations are liable to a fine of between €251 and €2,500. In the event of a repeat offence within two years, these penalties may be increased to double the maximum.