How to make a Flexible Working Request

Flexible working hours can include various options like working part-time, job sharing, working from home, flexitime, or working compressed hours. Employees who have flexible working hours can often provide employers with lower absence rates and increased productivity. Most see that it is good business sense to provide flexible working hours to their employees. Anyone can request flexible working, though some groups have the help of a statutory right to request it. 

The statutory right to request flexible working applies to anyone who is an employee (not an agency worker or a member of the armed forces) who has worked for 26 weeks or more continuously for the same employer, and who is also a parent of a child under 17, or a disabled child under 18. Some carers are also eligible.

Anyone who fits these criteria has a legal right to ask their employer about more flexible working hours. Although an employee has the right to request flexible working, flexible working is not an automatic right. It can take up to 14 weeks to complete the process of making a request and having it considered. It is advisable to speak to your employer as soon as possible when you have decided you wish to go ahead with the request. They must legally follow a procedure regarding your application, and if they are unable to allow flexible working, they must be able to give specific business reasons as to why.

A flexible working request should be clearly dated and made in writing (an email or fax is fine) and state that the application is submitted using the statutory right to request flexible working hours. The request should include details of the relationship with the child or cared-for adult that the flexible working pattern benefits, indicating their relationship (for example, mother and child). The request should also detail the changes to the working pattern that the employee is looking for, and give a date they would like this to start. The employee should describe any effects these changes are likely to have on the employer, and how they could be dealt with. Finally, the request should mention whether or not a previous request for flexible working has been made, and if so, on what date.

This article is a broad overview of this topic- You may also visit the Working Families website for more detailed information.

Link: or call the Working Families helpline on 0800 013 0313


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