Can I request flexible working?

06 July 2018

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The law now states that employees who have been with their employer for 26 weeks or more are entitled to apply for flexible working. Flexible working is not determined by your status; it is open to all – not just parents. The regulations state than an employee may only apply for flexible working once within 12 months.


Why would you make a flexible working request?

There are many different types of flexible working requests and reasons why you may wish to make one. New mother’s quite often want to change their hours from full time to part time and may request a job share or other arrangements. It may be that you want a better work/life balance and make a request to work from home or work condensed shifts. The law now makes it a bit easier for employees to change their working pattern, as employers must have a legitimate reason for refusing a flexible working request.

Process for making request

If you wish to make a formal request for flexible working, you must detail the type of request you are making in writing and how this might affect the business. For example, if you wanted to work from home one day a week, you would provide details on how you think the business would be able to cope. It may be that there would be no effect, as you would be able to access your emails and telephone and would be available during normal office hours. If you want to change your working hours, you may suggest making up the hours at other times. You must state the date you are making the request and when you would like the change to start. You should also specify that this is a statutory request.


What if it’s rejected?

Your employer has three months to reach a decision on your flexible working request, although it may be extended if you agree. There are various reasons why it may be rejected. For example, it may involve extra costs to the business or they may be unable to deliver services during the hours you are suggesting. It may be that you need access to specific files, which would make working from home impossible. You can either accept your employer’s decision, or you can appeal it.


Appealing the decision

If you really don’t agree with the decision, you might want to have another chat about it informally, as an initial step. Thereafter, if the decision is not overturned, you can start a formal grievance process. In some cases, a formal tribunal might be the only way to deal with the situation, although this would usually be a last resort.


Making the move

If your flexible working request is accepted, your contract would need to be amended and pay and annual leave may need to be changed accordingly. It is also good practice to let your colleagues know about the changes and anyone else you deal with on a regular basis.



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