Flexible working
Flexible working

The following Employment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Flexible working
  • Entitlement
  • Flexible working model letters
  • Flexible working patterns
  • Making a request
  • The employer's response
  • Dealing with applications in a reasonable manner
  • Timetable for notifying employee of decision: the 'decision period'
  • Grounds for refusing a request to work flexibly
  • Whether the contract change is permanent
  • more

Any employee who fulfils the entitlement criteria (see Entitlement, below) has a statutory right under the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996) to make an application to his or her employer to change his or her terms and conditions relating to:

  1. how many hours are worked, and/or

  2. when that work is done, and/or

  3. where that work is done

For further information on the sorts of flexible working patterns that may be requested in such a statutory application, see Flexible working patterns, below.

Note that the primary statutory right is merely to make such an application to the employer, and to have it processed properly. No employee has a statutory right to insist that the employer accept his request to alter his terms and conditions; rather the legislation simply:

  1. specifies how the employer must handle such applications once they have been made (see The employer's response, below), and

  2. restricts the list of legitimate reasons the employer may rely upon if it decides to reject such an application (see Grounds for refusing a request to work flexibly, below)

The restriction that applied (prior to 30 June 2014) to flexible working applications, whereby employees could only use the statutory procedure if their purpose in doing to so was to enable them to care for a child or an adult, has now been removed. Any employee who fulfils